From Baby Termites to Flying Termites and Hard Facts on Termite Damage
The old saying knowledge is power is highly relevant to defending against termites in your home. Aside from Tasmania, there is no home in Australia safe from an invasion of white ants. Their nests can be found in wall cavities, ceilings, under sub-floors, around gardens and more. But how do they get onto your property? Do termites fly? What do baby termites look like? How do you best defend against termite damage? Why do termites like rock music? Here, we answer common questions by sharing interesting termite facts.
Novel Facts About Termites (They Love Rock Music and They Fart… A Lot)
Before getting into the serious termite facts, here are a couple of light-hearted novelties about termites.
Termites are very alert and excitable insects. They love vibrations and have a keen sense of smell(*1). At a homeowner course Brad (owner of Home Termite Control)(*2) runs, he explained that the vibrations in rock music excite termites. So, if you have an infestation, they may end up heading toward your teenager’s bedroom.
Another interesting fact is that termites release a lot of methane gas(*2). Globally, termites release between one and three per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions(*3). This could be higher, but their nest structures naturally filter much of the methane out before it reaches the atmosphere.
8 Facts About Termites (Isoptera)
- There are approximately 2,300 termite species worldwide.
- Termites are not ants. They belong to a completely different order of insects called the Isoptera(*4).
- Termites are awake 24/7 foraging and eating. They eat all day long, every single day.
- The queen termite can live to a ripe old age of 50 years old. Other members of the colony live for varying lengths. For example, non-reproductive termites live, on average two years.
- You probably heard of the queen termite, but did you know there is also a king? Together, this duo produces a pheromone that stops other termites from reproducing.
- Queen termites can lay an egg every 15 seconds.
- Baby termites take approximately one month to hatch.
- The jaws of a termite are called mandibles.
- Nothing like home cooking! Termites feed other colony members mouth-to-mouth as well as anus-to-mouth feeding. This behaviour also serves as a form of communication for them.
- Once a termite reaches maturation, some will develop wings and leave the nest to start their own colony(*2). Not all species and castes of termites will develop this way.
Termites are Colonisers with Multiple Nests
Most termite colonies have one queen and one nest but not the Schedorhinotermes termite(*5,6). This species spreads out their nests and has multiple queens. When dealing with this genus, we set up stations at specially selected locations. Eliminating multiple nests can take a little longer but we can do it.
Worker and Soldier Termite Facts
• Workers and soldiers are diploid meaning they have both female and male sex cells(*7).
• Most are wingless and are unable to fly.
• Take no prisoners! Soldier termites defend the colony by decapitating intruders using their strong jaws.
Which Termites Cause the Most Damage?
Together, the queen, king, soldiers, and workers are an incredible force. Colonies are well organised, and all members have a clear job. Worker termites are the primary foragers and feeders. These are the ones who find our homes and get to work on eating them.
• Once workers return to the nest, they go ahead with their other duties of grooming other colony members.
When we apply a treatment, we want to affect worker termites (as well as the queen). This is because worker termites are the most likely to happen upon a termiticide and spread it through the colony.
Termites Can be Helpful!
In the forest and bushlands, termites work all day and night to break down decaying trees and plant matter. As they do this, they replenish and enhance the soil restarting the process of fresh growth.
All these termite facts are interesting, but chances are you still do not want to invite termites in for tea.
Give us a call today at our Sydney office on 02 9454 7774 or 1300 CatchM (1300 228 246) for a termite inspection and prevention plan to protect your home.
REFERENCES; *1. Tuner, SJ in Margonelli, L. Collective Mind in the Mound: How Do Termites Build Their Huge Structures? National Geographic. 2014. *2. Home Termite Control. Termites Love Farting & Rock Music | Funny Facts About Termites. YouTube video. 2011. *3. Holland, D. How a Termite’s Mound Filters Methane (and What it Means for Greenhouse Gases). Pursuit: University of Melbourne. 2018 *4. Australian Museum. Termites. 2019. *5. Home Termite Control. Nemesis Termite Treatment Explained | Sydney Termite Inspector. YouTube video. 2011. *6. Home Termite Control. Schedorhinotermes Termites Altriset Treatment | Sydney Pest Control. YouTube video. 2011. *7. Yashiro, T, Lo, N, Kobayashi, K, Nozaki, T, Fuchikawa, T, Mizumoto, N, Namba, Y & Matsuura, K. Loss of Males From Mixed-Sex Societies in Termites. BMC biology. Vol. 16, No.1. 2018