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Fun Facts About Termites

October 14, 2016

termites found near a boca raton home

Homeowners in Boca Raton, Jupiter and throughout South Florida should know more about termites because tropical regions provide favorable living conditions for them. Termites are known as the “silent destroyers” because they can cause large amounts of extremely costly property damage over periods of several years all the while going undetected by the homeowners.  These destructive little pests are actually quite fascinating creatures with many unique characteristics and behaviors.  Lenas Duenas of Nozzle Nolen has put together eight fun facts about termites that will help you get to know these common pests a little bit better.

#1: Termites have an intense work ethic.  
Termites work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They just never stop working.  Their job is to break down anything with cellulose into new soil by eating and digesting it, so they are just constantly eating.  They won’t even stop to sleep; in fact, they never sleep!  Termites put our 40-hour workweeks to shame!

#2: Scientists think of termites as beneficial bugs rather than destructive pests.  
Termites are infamous for generating incredibly costly property damage, but for those same degradative abilities termites are deemed beneficial in nature.  From an ecological perspective, termites are an integral part of our ecosystem; they actually provide a couple of valuable services to the environment.  Their eating habits are beneficial since they will consume dead or decomposing plants or trees and then will break down those tough plant fibers to turn them into new soil.  The nutrient rich soil that they can produce helps new plants to grow up healthy and strong.  Their ground tunneling behavior also benefits the environment by aerating the soil, and their tunneling is also useful for making green vegetation healthier.  Termites are so important for the environment, if only they would stay in nature and away from our houses!

#3: Termites are also known as “Social Cockroaches.”  
Although they do not look like it, termites are closely related to cockroaches.  One big difference between the two is that each termite within a colony has a complex job to do and a specific role to play. Those group-oriented behaviors are where the nickname “social cockroaches” comes from.

#4: Termite Queens are basically just big ol’ baby makin’ machines.  
I know that sounds silly, but it is totally true.  First, Termite Queens are pretty big for a termite; they can grow to be several inches long.  The Queen far outsizes any of the workers.  Second, Termite Queens are constantly producing eggs; they can lay up to 40,000 eggs per day.  That’s a whole lot of eggs!

#5: There are no deadbeat dads in the termite community.  
After a male termite chooses a Queen to mate with, now referred to as the ‘King’, he will stick around and care for the young.  The King stays by the Queen’s side to fertilize her eggs whenever necessary and to help with any parental duties such as providing the young with protozoa for digestion.  

#6: Termites communicate with scents and vibes.
 In other more scientific words, termites use pheromones and vibrations to send messages to the rest of their colony.  The workers use pheromones to guide each other by leaving a scent trail for the others to follow.  When termites detect a potential threat they send warning signals throughout the colony by banging their heads against the walls around them to create vibrations.  Sometimes, you can even detect an infestation by placing an ear against the wall and listening for their tapping and thumping sounds.  By secreting chemicals and by sending vibrations with head thumping, termites are more able to get their jobs done quickly and efficiently.

#7: Termites are one of the oldest insects on Earth.
Believe it or not, termites are older than dinosaurs! Fossil records give us evidence of termites that were alive during the era of dinosaurs, some fossil records actually date back even further showing that termites were alive before the dinosaurs even existed!  After much research, the scientific community has come to the agreement that termites have been alive for over 250 million years.  Termites give a little peek into what it may have been like during that time.  
#8: Termites outnumber us by a lot!  There are definitely way more termites on the Earth than there are humans.  As a matter of fact, research shows that for every one human, there are 1,000 pounds of termites.  That is a pretty crazy ratio in my opinion; no wonder infestations are so common!

Are you worried about termites in your home? Have you discovered termite damage? At Nozzle Nolen, we provide effective termite control in South Florida including treatments for drywood termites and subterranean termites. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect your home or business from these wood destroying insects.  


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