Termites have been a problem for man ever since he first started building structures. The earliest habitations were made of wood and plant and where these are, termites will also be present. These insects are known as “silent destroyers” because they are hard to spot and by the time their presence is noticed, considerable damage to a structure may have already occurred. If not stopped in time, a home can be completely destroyed. There are very few types of construction that are totally immune to termite damage.
Termites play an important role in nature where their ability to consume large amount of dead wood and other cellulose materials helps to keep the floors of forests and jungles clear to allow for new growth to occur. However, when wood is used for construction, they become a serious menace.
What They Eat
Termites feed on dead plants and trees as well as the parts of trees that are still alive. Because they feed on detritus they are known as detritivores. A termite has a very powerful mouth and jaws and is capable of chewing through even the hardest of wood. Although the largest termite measure only a few millimetres in length, they can eat many times their own weight in wood and in the process cause massive damage to any kind of dwelling. From woodwork in a home to furniture, books and even foundations of a structure, nothing is safe from these pests.
The Three Types OF Termites
- Subterranean termites live in the ground and build mounds with elaborate tunnels systems through which they travel to find sources of food, both above and below ground.
- Drywood termites live within their food source. That is, they live within the wood they consume, eating their way from the inside to the outside.
- When termite colony has matured and developed, the insects can grow wings and start to fly. These winged insects are called swarming termites and are attracted to sources of light, from where they go exploring for food sources. They can often be spotted hovering around doors and windows and use these opening to enter a home.
Within these three broad categories there are numerous subspecies, each with its different eating habits and food preferences. One thing they all have in common is that they are all destructive and if allowed to spread unchecked, can cause severe damage to any human habitation.
Dealing with termite infestation is not a DIY job. Unless the termites are completely removed from a building, the colony can grow again and start damaging the structure. Improper removal of these insects can result in the homeowner becoming complacent and not noticing the signs of new damage. Catching and exterminating termites as early as possible will make getting rid of them easier while minimizing the damage that is done. Regular inspections by a professional termite removal company that has both experience as well as the latest methods of handling the problem is the best way to keep you home and your family safe.