Freaky Facts about Termites
November 22, 2016
Termites often called the ‘silent destroyers’ of the bug community, are known to cause incredibly costly damage and are therefore feared by many property owners across the globe. However, these strange little critters are actually quite fascinating. I put together this list of eight weird and random facts about termites that I think you will find to be either entertaining or creepy. Regardless, you’ll definitely learn something new!
Termites are neat freaks: That’s right; termites are indeed surprisingly well groomed. One wouldn’t expect critters that live in the dirt to care as much as they do about sanitation and cleanliness. In fact, termites make a considerable effort to stay clean. Much of their time is spent grooming each other, which is kind of cute when you think about it. Grooming is so important to them because maintaining good hygiene is necessary for their survival since it helps the colony keep the parasites and harmful bacteria in check.
Many cultures of the Amazon have unique, thought-provoking beliefs associated with termites. One Amazonian culture believes that if a termite colony is found in someone’s home, then it means that the homeowner will die soon: According to these Amazonians, the only way for the cursed homeowner to escape their morbid fate is by completely eliminating the infestation or by moving out of the home permanently. On the other hand, a few other Amazonian cultures believe that the termites have some health benefits. One culture is certain that you can cure the flu with termites, claiming that if you inhale the smoke from a burning termite nest then you will be cured of the flu. Another different group in the Amazon rely on termites to treat whooping cough, they have confidence in the idea that someone can cure their whooping cough by drinking a hot, sugar-sweetened soup made by boiling termites.
Termites pass so much gas that they have essentially become tiny yet powerful methane-making machines: They pass way more wind than humans do and they create a shocking amount of methane gas. This is not great for our Planet Earth since methane gas is known for causing air pollution. Termites are responsible for generating some of the highest quantities of methane in both the insect and the animal kingdoms. In fact, termites make more methane gas and cause more air pollution than all of the human industries combined!
Most termites are blind: Termites live in dark, damp places for their entire lives, so there is never a need to develop functional eyes. Workers and soldiers are almost always blind. The only termites with eyesight are the winged swarmers that need vision to find a mate and start a nest. Even though they cannot see, they will still have no problem finding and eating all the wood in your house if you let them.
Termites have vampire-esque features: Both termites and vampires live in the dark and hate the sunlight. Both termites and vampires can die if they are exposed to sunlight. Personally, I think those are pretty creepy characteristics to have in common.
Even though all they ever do is eat, termites are actually unable to digest their own food and they need a little help from their Protozoa friends: Termites depend on microorganisms inside their guts to digest the cellulose that they need to live. These helpful little microorganisms consist of bacteria and Protozoa. This symbiotic relationship benefits both the termites and the Protozoa.
Young termites have to eat each other’s poop if they wish to survive adulthood: Termites are not born with the digestive microorganisms and they must obtain some of their own in order to live. Young termites will get their own supply of bacteria and protozoa through the process of trophallaxis during which they will eat each other’s feces. This process allows the older termites to share their stock of digestive organisms with the younger termites.
Many people from various parts of the world say that termites make quite the delicious meal: That’s right, in many countries all around the globe, termites are thought of as food and considered an excellent source of protein. In fact, their protein content is higher than that of beef. In South America, they prefer termites barbecued, while Africans like them fried into crispy golden goodness. In Singapore, a two-inch termite queen is quite the tasty treat that locals will enjoy as a yummy snack. They serve the termite queens in one of three ways: alive, dipped in alcohol, or preserved in rice wine. I don’t know about you, but I’m curious to try eating termites, just to see what all the fuss is about!
If you have any questions about termites or if you are interested in our termite pest control services, call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.
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