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Kissing bug identification requires closer look – Insects …

Posted: October 12, 2019 at 7:41 am

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2015)

Adult Triatoma, kissing bug next to a penny.

Because most of us take little time to look closely at insects, it should not be surprising that recent television stories about kissing bugs and Chagas disease have created a frenzy of sorts amongpeople thinking they have captured or seen kissing bugs around the home. While a few of these haveturned out to be actual kissing bugs (genus Triatoma), most are not; and laboratories set up to identify and test kissing bugs have been overwhelmed this month with samples.

But not all insects vaguely resembling the pictures you might see on television or in the newspaperare kissing bugs. In fact, there are over 38,000 different kinds of insects in the true bugs suborder to which kissing bugs belong. So to make things easier, lets review what to look for when a suspicious bug shows up in your home or landscape.

Triatoma head. Notice the straight tapering mouthparts under the head. Photo courtesy Alex Wild (

All insects in thesuborder Heteroptera, to which kissing bugs belong, have piercing sucking type mouthparts, as opposed to the chewing mouthparts found on most larger insects. Such mouthparts are visible from the underside of the body, and are relatively easy to see on the kissing bugat least with a good handlens or magnifying glass. Unlike some other large bugs, which have very thin mouthparts pressed against the body (plant feeding bugs), or heavy curved mouthparts (most predatory bugs), the mouthparts on kissing bugs are stout andstraight.

Adult, fully grown kissing bugs range in size from 1/2 inch to over 1 1/4 inches long (usually about 1 inch-long). They are pear-shaped and dark brown to black in body color, often with distinct, reddish- to cream-colored stripesvisible along the edges of the abdomen (tail). There are no markings on the wings, although some kissing bugs may show some orange at the base of the wings, next to the shield behind the head.

Three of the different kinds of kissing bug found in Texas vary slightly in size and coloration, but share all the key characters of this genus. Photo courtesy Gabe Hamer, Texas A&M University.

The head is stick-like but tapering,with eyes bulging from the sides and bottom of the head. Besides kissing bug, these insects are often called conenose bugs.

The six legs are relatively thin and tapering, not swollen or bulging. There are no distinctive spines or spikes on kissing bug legs, sides or top.

While some insects may have some of these characters, only insects with all of these characteristics are likely to be kissing bugs. Add to this that kissing bugs come out mostly at night, and it shouldnt be too difficult to distinguish kissing bugs from all other insects.

Common Imposters

Of course there are other insects that have some of the characteristics of kissing bugs. So lets look at a few.

For more pictures and information about kissing bug identification services offered by Texas A&M University, click here. For more information about kissing bugs, why they are a health concern, and how they can be managed, see our factsheet on conenose bugs.

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Termites Minecraft Feedback

Posted: October 10, 2019 at 4:42 am

Termites: Will invade places with lots of wood (villages and your house) if you happen to live in a savannah, dessert or mesa. They are too small to hit with a sword so you will have to enlist the help of the native animals. In the dessert and mesa you will find meerkats, to lead them back to an infestation you will have to crouch in front of them with a dead termite which you find where the infestation is (since termites don't have long lifetimes) if you scare the meerkat it will retreat in to it's burrow which is marked on a block by a black hole when it comes back out again in about 10 seconds you have to try again if you manage to tame it because it is a wild animal will lose interest and run away if you take to long so lead it to the infestation quickly (it follows you like a wolf but for a limited time). To bring an ostrich back it is much simpler just lead it to the infestation with wheat or seeds (like a cow or pig). When either mob reaches the infestation it will run around crunching the bugs until there are none left then it will run away in search of more termites. leaving you to clean up the damage. Maybe if you save a village they could reward you with gifts similar to the ones you would find in blacksmith chests.

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How To Kill Termites And Get Rid Of Them Forever

Posted: at 4:42 am

If you want to know how to get rid of termites, then don't worry. Our home remedies for termites are a natural treatment for your home and furniture.

No one wants their house to be visited by termites, right? However, these small, unwanted insects pop up when we least expect them.

Termites mainly eat wood, but they can feed off of any other material that contains cellulose, such as paper, cardboard, live plants, etc. When they cant find anything to eat, they destroy other objects while trying to find food.

Its been estimated that the losses caused by these bugs amount to about 5 billion dollars per year in the USA and Canada, which is more than the damages caused by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Since they can destroy furniture and even entire homes so quickly, its very important to know how to prevent them and what to do once you find them.

Here are some tips that help prevent termites from appearing.

Kitchen saltBoric acidEssential oilsVaseline

Apart from the tips, here are a few more recommendations:

- Check to see if your house has ventilation spots or areas that are humid and dont get much sunlight, and try not to leave furniture in those areas. Damp wood is one of termites favorite snacks.- Sweep up any dead leaves or plants since they attract termites.- In the vet that these tips dont help with your termite infestation, call a professional exterminator.


For more information and references, check the article on our blog:

Disclaimer: The materials and the information contained on Natural Cures channel are provided for general and educational purposes only and do not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

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3 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Flying Termites (Fast) – Pest Wiki

Posted: at 4:42 am

A lot of people ask do termites fly? And the answer is yes. There are flying termites, and theyre just as destructive as their grounded counterparts. Whats really interesting is that these flying pests look a lot like flying ants, and many people think that they have flying ants which are far less of a problem than flying termites.

Before we discuss how to get rid of flying termites, were going to talk more about these winged termites.

Many types oftermiteswith wingsare there but usually their average size tends to be in the range of 1/4th to 3/8th of an inch. While the general worker termite is light colored, a flying termite can be light, black, beige/tan or dark brown colored, depending on the species. The dark color of a termite helps it to retain the moisture in its body and helps it to leave its nest more freely. There are four wings in two sets on either side for a flight. It has a veiny appearance and is translucent and white in color. The two antennas are straight with a slight curve at the end. Unlike other insect species, their body does not have a clear-cut difference between the thorax and abdomen. It has a thick body that is made up of a single part. In this aspect, both wingless and flying termites have the same body construction.A winged termite can be the queen or king of a colony. It can also be a swarmer that is capable of starting a new colony. Whereas soldier, worker or secondary reproductive termites are generally blind, a flying termite can have poor eyesight. When a colony of termite swarms, then only these can be visible. Among other things, warm and humid climate with heavy rainfall can help in the formation of swarms. Swarms are also created when male and female winged termites from established colonies mate together. When mating is over, the fertilized termites lose their wings and go ahead in creating newer colonies. Therefore, if a person notices a flying termite, it can be a clear indication of the presence of a mature colony somewhere nearby.Termites with wingsare very similar to winged ants and can be easily mistaken if certain differences are not recognized properly. Although appearance-wise, there are certain differences that can be readily noticed. Termites have straight-sided waist whereas ants have a more compressed one. All the four wings of termites are equal in size. The termite antennae are straight whereas an ant antenna can be bent at 90-degrees. These are some of the differentiators between the two species of insects.

Termites are around the same size as ants, and to the untrained eye, it would be difficult to distinguish between the two. Were going to talk about a few of the main components to look at to fully understand what youre dealing with:

Termite swarmers are just 1/4 of an inch in length, so its very difficult to get a good look at them.

Can Termites Fly into our House?

The overwhelming answer that has been received quite often is that Yes, they can fly but not all of them are capable of it. Actually, termites are not classified in winged insects category like mosquitoes and wasps. Rather, they are able to fly only for a short duration of time before they shed their wings forever.A termite colony is distinctly divided into groups that are better known as castes. Each caste has a typical role to be performed in the colony. The distinct castes of termite include workers, soldiers and alates. Among these three, alates are the ones equipped with wings and they are able to fly. They are the only termites that are sexually developed and goes on to become the kings and queens of future colonies. Termite habits and flying patterns are further known as swarms.Termite swarms are indicative of a termite calendar. They can be spotted during a particular period of time in each year. This time can depend upon geographical conditions and upon each species. Seasons also play a very vital role in the determination of termite calendar.However, having said this, it is also important to mention here that a well-maintained home may not be the best place for their stay. A property having proper drainage, ventilation and storage can be a good way of deterring any termite build-up. Moreover, an annual inspection by a recognized termite professional to ascertain whether a property is free of termites can be the best way to ensure that a place is free of termite infestation.

During the favorable seasons when these insects come out, the alates usually fly and try to mate in the air. At this point in time, they can be physically spotted or their shredded wings can also be noticed. These are good ways of understanding their presence. Moreover, at the back of the house, if they are seen in droves, then that can be a sure shot way of knowing that they are present in a home.Termites are an international menace as they are virtually present all around the globe. In the US alone, termite induced property damage stands to the tune of $5 billion each year and this figure can be quite substantive! Therefore, protecting a property from visible termite signs can be one of the best ways of keeping ones family safe and also a good way of saving money.Termites that reside in a property can cause damages to the tune of thousands of dollars. Moreover, any type of termite induced damage is not covered by most homeowners insurance.Therefore, it becomes important to search for any termite damage sign in a home on a regular basis so that it can be kept under check. Moreover, having a termite protection plan through a pest deterrent company can be helpful as termite inspection schedules can be expected to be carried out by them each year. This can be a wonderful way of ensuring that there is no termite damage happening within a property.However, there are certain signs that can be inspected easily by a person who may be interested to keep termite infestation in check. A few of these signs are discussed below.

People who want an answer to the query can termites fly into your house? may be satisfied by this point. Blisters or areas within a wooden flooring can indicate the presence of termite below the surface. This also indicates that termites stay deep inside wooden surfaces and it is not as if they make their home within a day by flying in. It is mainly done by subterranean termites that can damage a subfloor considerably making it look as if the floor has been damaged due to water.

There can be a lot of wood damage and wood particles may be strewn all around below and beneath surfaces like the floor, walls, etc. It can all be a result of termites that chew through wood making long hollow cavity within the wood. Actually, it is their search for cellulose in wood due to which this type of operation is conducted by them. Over a period of time, this type of cavities may weaken the wood and can also be responsible for any major damage to the structure itself.

As earlier discussed, broken termite wings can be a good way of establishing their presence nearby. These wings can be expected at any access point to a property including doors, windows, etc. Winged termites generally take a flight for mating and once they have mated, they come back to the ground. Upon landing, they intentionally twist their wings so that they can be broken off because they know that they wont need them ever again. All termite wings are of the same size and that can be a good way of establishing their presence within a property.

There can be many types of mud tubes that can be of the size of a pencil. These may be present near to any termite food source like a shed or tree. Additionally, it can also be near to a place where the ground surface meets the house. It is due to the fact that subterranean termites usually live underground and make their way up in search of any wooden structure so that they can gorge on it. This type of wooden structure can usually be a property or a house and therefore it must be preserved. The pencil-sized tubes made by them can be helpful in stopping the dry, cool air so that they can make an environment where they can live very easily.

Drywood termites are nonflying termitesthat live inside the wood. When they infest a wood, they slowly eat through it leading to the formation of a tunnel. This further leads to the formation of galleries that is maintained in a clean way by them. The cleanliness of these galleries is maintained by creating small holes through which they try to pass out their excrement. Now, since these dry wood termites consume wood, the excrement is also in the form of wood. This literally leads to the creation of heaps of pellets. These heaps of pellets may look like coffee grounds or sawdust and can be a good indicator of dry wood termites.However, it is not that without displaying any of these signs, they are not present in a property. In fact, they can still be present without showing any of these mentioned indicators. They can be there in a property and may remain hidden for a long time. When damage is ultimately found out, a substantial loss may already have been inflicted by them. Therefore, a proactive approach is very much needed to deal with a termite problem and any sign of this insect should be taken seriously.

Both ants and termites can swarm, and they both have similar appearances. Its important to be able to know the differences between these two swarmers so that you know which type of insect youre dealing with.

Termite swarmers need to be dealt with differently than flying ants.

We already discussed what flying termites look like. Heres what flying ants look like:

With these points in mind, you should be able to tell the difference between a flying termite and a flying ant.

Termites arent trying to be a burden, but they swarm because its time for them to create a new colony. This is when youll start to notice them near your home. And there are certain seasons when termites will swarm. We can call this the mating season.

How long do flying termites live? Longer than you probably expect. In fact, the Smithsonian calls the Queen of Termites the longest-lived insects. King and queen termites can settle down into their chambers and live ten years or more.

For the most part, a flying termite swarm can be witnessed when the weather begins to get warmer. Climates where there is a distinct winter with cold weather can consider the spring and (to some extent) the summer as the season when termites will swarm.

In most cases, barring a cold spring, the termites will come out after a good rain storm.

Swarms are a group of termites that are working together to be able to find their own colony. Its important to note that not all species of termites will swarm at the same time. But all species will swarm when the weather is warm.

So, if its the middle of winter and you think youve seen a termite swarm, it is highly unlikely that youre actually dealing with termites.

Subterranean termites, for example, wont swarm until theyre about three years in age. Winged termites indicate that the termite will swarm and is looking for a colony. What happens is that the swarmers will grow wings to be able to fly to their new colony where theyll find a mate and reproduce.

Following a successful mating, the wings of the termite will fall off.

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All of the females that mate in these partnerships will be considered the queen of her own colony. She will give birth to worker termites that will develop into soldiers in some cases, which will act to protect the queen and anyone in their colony.

Its like the growth of the Middle Ages.

And the queen is your main target. One queen can lay a million eggs in her lifetime.

Termites, like most insects, love light. This light will attract them and electrocute them if its a bug zapper. Obviously, this only works if the flying termites are outside of the home, but its a method that is recommended by professional exterminators.

You can use a fly swatter to kill them yourself, but this is far more practical.

The key is to shut off as many lights in your home as possible and try to remove your outside light, too. If there are multiple light sources, it will reduce the chances of successfully zapping these pests to death.

You can buy bug zappers online and in Home Depot or a hardware store.

Orange oil is such a good termite killer that it is highly recommended by professionals. The reason that this spray works so well is that there is a compound in the spray which will kill the termite. This compound is what gives oranges and citrus fruits their vibrant smells.

Want to skip the research work and get a quick solution for your home?

What youll need to do is the following:

Now, youll want to spray any termites you see as well as any areas where you see termite activity. If you know that termites have already lost their wings and are taking up space in your home, youll be able to spray these highly trafficked areas with orange oil.

Many people will also apply this oil to furniture, and even drill holes in the wall where they know termites are active and pour the orange oil into the holes.

Termites dont fly for long, and if they have wings, you need to hope that they dont decide that your home will be their colony. But there is only so much that you can do to ensure that termites wont take up residence in your home.

Since these pests are drawn to wood, you can do a lot of different things outside of the home to curb the risk of them making your home as their own:

Nematodes can also be introduced outside, which will eat termites. Nematodes will be able to eat through an entire colony of termites in no time at all. This will exterminate the entire colony.

If you notice wings on the windowsill or on the floor, this means that the termites did mate and theyve likely picked your home to make a colony. The best course of action this early on is to call in a professional to kill the new colony before they cause any major damage.

You can create an inexpensive, effective termite trap using a material that you probably have in your home already: cardboard.

The next time you have a package delivered to your home, save the box and use it to fight back against termites.

You see, termites love cellulose. Its a compound found in wood, but its also found in cardboard. Placing sheets of wet cardboard in infested areas will attract the termites.

Once the termites start eating the cardboard, you can decide how you want to exterminate them. Most people choose to spray the cardboard with an insecticide or natural bug killer.

Others choose to torch the cardboard. Setting the cardboard on fire will definitely kill the termites, but this is also a dangerous method that we dont recommend. You can easily injure yourself or cause a fire in the process.

We recommend spraying the cardboard using an insecticide or a natural bug killer. Be sure to follow the directions on commercial insecticide products.

Boric acid is an effective insect killer, and you can find it online or in most big-box stores. Its generally non-toxic, and its effective at killing most insects, including termites.

Boric acid works by coating the bug and dehydrating it. The dehydration damages the insects nervous system and kills it.

Boric acid comes in powder form, and it can be applied either indoors or outdoors. You can sprinkle the powder along the perimeter of your home, but you can also place it along windows, doors, entryways and other areas where you see flying termites.

While generally safe, its best to keep kids and pets away from the boric acid. And if youre applying the powder outdoors, make sure that you reapply it daily or every few days, especially if theres a rainstorm.

Once youve taken steps to eliminate flying termites, you want to make sure that they never return. How can you do this? Prevention.

As the experts say: the best removal method is prevention.

Preventing termites from entering your home is the key most important thing, and you can do this by through a method called trenching.

Trenching is the practice of applying a termiticide along the perimeter of your home, typically along the foundation. If termites attempt to cross the barrier you create, they will die and spread the insecticide to their colony.

Trenching isnt as easy as spraying a product and calling it a day. You need to use shovels to dig literal trenches along the perimeter of your home. Once youve done this, you can apply a termiticide that will give you protection for up to five years.

If youre concerned about applying a chemical pesticide, you may want to call in a professional to do the job for you.

Keep in mind that if youre seeing termite swarmers, theres a very good chance that you already have a thriving colony of these pests near your home. Youll want to tackle this infestation before you start implementing preventative measures. If you dont get rid of the initial infestation, youll be fighting a constant uphill battle with these insects.

Along with trenching, you also want to take other natural approaches to prevent termite infestations.

For starters, you should correct moisture issues, including drainage concerns, leaks and excess condensation. Check your heating and cooling units to look for condensation issues. This is a common place area for this problem, and it can help attract termites to the area.

The next step is to remove extraneous wood from your yard. We touched on this earlier, but its really important to remove tree stumps, fallen trees, leaf debris and other materials that termites love. We also recommend that you avoid using wood mulch in your yard. Wood mulch is another food source for termites, so youre effectively inviting them to dinner.

Make sure that you keep all firewood a fair distance from your home. Never store wood next to your home.

Also, you want to make sure that you never use untreated wood in construction projects, such as decks and sheds.

Termites are a serious pest, and they can cause expensive damage to your home. If youre seeing termite swarmers, its an indication of a more serious problem that you cannot ignore. At this stage, you can take steps to kill the flying termites, but it may be time to call in a professional to tackle the rest of the colony. Otherwise, you may wind up with irreparable damage to your home.

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3 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Flying Termites (Fast) - Pest Wiki

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Kill termites with vinegar is a home remedy – Pests stop

Posted: at 4:42 am

If a homeowner suspects that some termite species are living and breeding on the property, it is a seriousproblem. The best solution in this case is to call a qualified termite exterminator for inspection and treatment. If there is no opportunity to hire a pest control professional, the most homeowners tend to get rid of termites on their own. One of the well-known home remedies is to kill termites with vinegar.

As a first step, inspect your home indoors and outside. Walk along the perimeter of your house. Try to locate the termites galleries, nests, mud-tubes on/ inside the walls, in the foundation and along the pipes. What should you look for? First, the evidence of the termite frass that resembles sawdust around deck railings, poles and wooden structures. Second, the presence of small holes (open or sealed with mud) on wood structure. Third, the activity of tiny black, brown or creamy bugs that look like ants. Fourth, piles of long wings near the wood constructtuction. These are all the signs of termite infestation in the area.

In practice, there are lots of natural methods how to exterminatewood-destroying pests. They are eco-friendly andeasy-to-useon your own. Well, you can apply the vinegar to get rid of termites in fourways:

1. vinegar in its pure form2. vinegar that is dissolved in water at 1:1 dilution rate3. vinegar with lemon juice (5 oz of vinegar per the freshly squeezed juice of two lemons)4. white vinegar with olive oil (1 part of vinegar per 4 parts of olive oil)

The second and third methods are effective to eliminate the termites that are currently visible. The vinegarsolutions will keep other wood-consuming pests away from using the treated areas or mud-tubes as well. Spray on the corners of buildings and areas where the termites can feed on and make their way into home. The mixtures will easily soak through the holes and cracks and kill termites with vinegar and lemon juice. Lemon itself contains d-limonene that is a poison to wood pests. It kills the termites via destroying their digestive systems.

Spray the vinegar or its solution on the wood or directly on the dry wood termites in the infested area, inject it into the kick-outs and entrance holes. However, you can also drill holes in the infested wood and inject the vinegar through them.

If subterranean termites havebroken into yourhome, inject the solution into the mud tunnels or burrows to kill termites with vinegar at the source.In fact, subterranean species in the USA do not build mounds, theyhave their nests underground outside the house. They make their way through the shelter tubes and burrows into home in search of wood.

In addition, the mixture of white vinegar and olive oil is a perfect furniturepolish. Apply it with a soft fiber cloth. Thus, this protective layer will keep the termites away.

Allow up to three daysuntilthe vinegar takes its full effect. It maytake about two-four weeks to kill termites with vinegar, depending on how severe the termite infestation is. Moreover, some termite members couldsurvive for some reason. Hence, you can retreat the infested zone and ensure that you eliminate the entire colony in this case.

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Top 10 Best Termite Control Companies in 2019 | Plans …

Posted: October 7, 2019 at 2:42 am

Getting to Know You

As is often the case, the best way to beat your adversary is by learning as much as you can about them. Even though termite behavior is fascinating in its own right --with some scientists going so far as to claim that colonies are giant, symbiotic organisms which collectively represent an individual-- for our purposes, knowing just some basic facts will be enough to get started.

There are three main types of termites that can affect homes in the U.S., with one - the Formosan - being a particularly nasty subset:

Subterranean termites are the most common and are found, in some way or another, in every U.S. state except Alaska. They cause the most amount of damage because theyre widespread and can infest silently and invisibly.

Drywood termites are the second most common termite class and can do plenty of damage in their own right. They do not require contact with the soil to spread, instead forming their nests in the same wood they are consuming. They are limited in range, preferring warmer climates, such as those found in the southern U.S. and coastal states.

Dampwood termites, on the other hand, only feast on wood that contains significant amounts of moisture. They are much less common than the previously mentioned species, and generally prefer structures that are built close to water or whose wooden foundations are buried in very humid soil.

Formosan termites are a type of subterranean termite and an extremely damaging invasive species in the U.S., mostly concentrated in the southern states. Formosan colonies can grow to be in the hundreds of thousands and feed on any type of cellulose matter (mainly trees and wood), but also in ubiquitous material such as drywall, cardboard, newspapers, and boxes.

According to world-renowned termite expert and Distinguished Professor of Urban Entomology at the University of Florida, Dr. Nan-Yao Su, subterranean termites account for 80% of economic impact, [while] only 20% is caused by drywood termites. Therefore, termite control companies everywhere offer solutions for controlling subterranean termite infestations, while companies located in states such as Florida, Arizona, and southern California, will also provide drywood termite control.

If we look at it from an ecological perspective, termites are one of the most important and useful species on the planet. After all, the amount of otherwise non-recyclable material they consume maintains a balance in the decomposition cycle of our biosphere.

Of course, home or business owners that suddenly find their properties crawling with these pests dont really care about their essential function in planetary ecology. The issue at hand is the infestation itself, and its potential financial impact.

There are many ways termites can affect your well-being and your property.

Subterranean termites are relentless and equipped with an insatiable appetite. They consume any and all material they identify as food. That means worker termites foraging outside the colony search for pieces of wood, cardboard, or even drywall that can serve as sustenance for the rest of their brethren.

Subterranean termites slip through cracks in your home, building tunnels to protect themselves while feasting on any exposed surface they can digest. Areas of high moisture are particularly attractive to them, as well as piles of firewood or trees that lie next to the house where they can set up shop and continue foraging. If they ever sneak into the structures wooden foundation, it can lead to severe and costly damage.

Meanwhile, drywood termites dont build huge colonies on the outside like subterranean termites do. They slip in, unannounced, and target specific pieces of drywood, say a wooden support beam, a floorboard, or a piece of furniture. Once inside, they slowly begin eating away the material, leaving only their droppings as a sign of infestation.

Doug Webb, manager of Technical Services at the Terminix corporate office, told us that an average termite damage claim typically runs at around $8,000 dollars. This includes all types of cases, from run-of-the-mill floorboard replacement to more catastrophic structural damage to the foundation.

However, Mr. Webb warns that, even if you suffer only minimal structural damage, termites can attack and destroy priceless artifacts such as family heirlooms, documents, and photos. The loss of these irreplaceable items can be a heavier blow than any material damage done to the home.

Just as termite damage can make short work of your home, an infestation can take over and wreak havoc on your business. And its not just about the physical space.

As Mr. Webb states, to shut down for repairs is a very real cost to downtime for any business but even more so, something like a warehouse that might be storing high-dollar items [such as electronics or pharmaceuticals]... the termites just get in and eat the boxes, [the products] are going to be unsellable and that can be extremely expensive.

He adds that, in essence, the high cost of a termite infestation in a commercial space not only has to do with the [physical] structure of the business, but also the products they may have in storage.. plus their business records, paper records that can be destroyed.

All this should give business owners pause: choosing termite prevention can be a worthwhile investment when considering the monetary and physical consequences of infestation.

Surprisingly, termites are not harmful to humans in a direct way, meaning that they do not carry diseases and their bites are not toxic or harmful. They are in fact quite clean insects, in part because they are sheltered from outside contact with other organisms, including humans. As they do kick up dirt and allergens when theyre working and building, allergic reactions or asthma attacks can be triggered as a side effect.

And dont worry about any potential harm a termite might inflict on a family pet. Just as they do not pose a physical threat to humans, termites are also harmless to dogs or cats.

Unfortunately, since termites infest quietly and out of view, most damage goes unnoticed for a while before tell-tale signs start to pop up. On the other hand, unless the structure is under attack by the voracious Formosan termite, the damage will be slow to accumulate, giving you time to correctly deal with it.

Alertness is key. If you spot any of the following signs, call a termite control professional immediately to set up an inspection:

Mud tubes are the protective tunnels subterranean termites use to move around when they come out of the soil and into a structure. They are usually about the width of a pencil and remain moist to keep termites from drying up. Dry mud tubes may signal that termites are no longer using them, but does not necessarily mean that they have left the area.

Swarms or piles of discarded wings suggest that flying termites are active in the vicinity. Fully established colonies release hundreds of thousands of reproductive termites during the spring months, looking to start new colonies. Even if they fail to mate and settle in new territory, their presence indicates a nearby, active colony.

Hollow or cracked wood is the most unwanted symptom of a termite infestation. When termites have devoured wood, it becomes hollow and easily punctured, with intricate, maze-like paths weaved throughout. Of course, this is not externally visible until its too late and the wood is already past the point of saving.

Termite droppings, or frass, might seem innocent enough: they look like coffee-grounds or tiny, round pellets. However, since drywood termites dont provide any other visible signal of their activity, looking out for their frass may be the only way to avoid any spread of infestation.

Of course, no matter how vigilant you are, some infestations can occur completely invisible to the naked eye. Thats why preventative measures and regular inspections, which we discuss in detail below, play an important role in stifling termite activity.

The first step to treat any infestation is determining the type of termite that is causing the damage. To do this, an inspection by a professional is highly recommended.

After an inspection, the termite control professional provides an assessment of the situation and presents their plan to deal with it. This course of action depends on a whole range of factors besides the species of termite; it will also depend on the size of the infestation, the construction of the structure, and the layout of the surrounding area.

Dr. Susan Jones, professor of Entomology at The Ohio State University and a termite expert, advises that particularly in the southern states, California, and Hawaii, where you have both subterranean and drywood termites, an inspection is necessary to determine the correct treatment to apply. With subterranean termites, youre dealing with termites that are in the soil, so you concentrate on that soil to deliver the treatment, whereas with drywood termites that dont have that soil contact you dont have to treat the soil at all, rather youre trying to concentrate on the wood where the termites are nesting.

To deal with a subterranean termite infestation, there are basically two schools of thought: either spray the soil with liquid termiticides or set up bait stations.

Liquid spraying is still the most widely used form of termite control and consists of spraying an area with a specific pesticide in order to kill the termites in the ground and create a barrier against them. The most common termiticide currently used is Fipronil, marketed as Termidor, but there are also many other pesticides available, such as Altriset.

Although liquid spraying has been proven to be an effective method for killing the termites it comes in contact with, there are three major drawbacks worth considering:

Even if a liquid soil treatment decimates the termite population, it doesnt completely kill the colony.

To create an effective barrier against termites, the liquid has to protect all possible entry points, particularly the foundation. This usually means either drilling holes or digging a trench around the structure.

Finally, despite the fact that the EPA regulates termiticides, and most states require compliance with their own regulations, these can still be highly toxic chemicals that cause environmental and health issues if not handled correctly.

Baiting systems are a termite control method developed to neutralize the totality of an infestation, all the way down to the colonys queen. Termite control technicians install bait stations along the perimeter of the structure, particularly in places prone to termite traffic. These stations are filled with bait (usually a cellulose-based material such as paper or cardboard) that is laced with a slow-acting poison. The termite worker takes the bait back to the colony where it spreads, killing every member.

Baiting systems are proven to eradicate colonies in their entirety, and its ecological impact is negligible to none. However, proponents of liquid spraying do criticize some perceived disadvantages of bait systems.

It is slow acting. It will not immediately kill the termites in the area, since it requires the workers to actually find the bait stations, feed on them, and return to the colony. This process could take several months.

For bait systems to work, technicians need to routinely visit and inspect the stations, making sure that theyre functioning properly. This makes its a costlier option, requiring annual service contracts in order to guarantee performance.

Well delve into each methods effectiveness and ecological impact later on. In the broadest of terms, liquid systems are cheaper and quicker than bait systems, but they can carry substantial risks and wont completely eliminate the colony.

Drywood termites infest the wood directly, therefore the treatment must be applied directly to the affected area. There are several ways to achieve this:

Whole structure fumigation (or tenting) - Since drywood termites are notoriously difficult to spot, the best way to eliminate a colony inside a home is to fumigate it completely. Termite control companies cover the residence in a tarp, and release the termiticide inside so it seeps into the affected areas. Although effective, it can be a major inconvenience for families that need to vacate the premises and safeguard the home and its contents from the chemicals used.

Spot treatment - This method focuses on a specific area or piece of wood where the infestation is taking place. Its usually done by drilling holes into the wood and injecting termiticide directly. However, there are a variety of different methods that dont rely on the use of chemicals, such as applying direct heat to the spot, a cold treatment that uses liquid nitrogen in the same way, and even microwave treatments.

Additionally, heat treatment can also be applied for the whole structure, though it comes with added precautions so as not to damage the structure or the contents therein.

As part of their treatment options, termite control companies have adopted the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a sort of holistic approach towards pest control.

IPM as a whole is intended to deal with pests problems through multiple perspectives, using common sense and different treatment techniques. This, in turn, leads to reliance in preventative methods, such as minimizing the conditions in which termites thrive, as well as periodic inspections to detect termites before they can gain a foothold in a structure.

In the past, pest control companies would just spray chemicals everywhere in order to treat infestations. These methods were not only extremely harmful to people and the environment, but they werent very effective against re-infestations either.

In contrast, the idea of using IPM techniques is to minimize pesticide use, or at least to use it only when absolutely necessary. Therefore, inspection and monitoring are given top priority.

In a nutshell, IPM is a method for assessing infestations through observable evidence and using that knowledge to craft a specific course of action involving multiple tools, while at the same time limiting the application of chemicals. Its a focused, decision-making process that takes into account every possible factor: from the slope of the structure and the moisture of the surrounding soil to the size of the infestation and the termites activity.

Ultimately, the decision on which method to use comes after the inspection process and the termite control professionals recommendation. Its up to the consumer to decide if its the right choice for their space, budget, and peace of mind.

Of course, if a colony of termites is inexorably eating away at your most valuable possession --your home-- its understandable if youre not much inclined on pausing to consider and compare between alternatives.

However, taking the time to clearly analyze the situation and balance the pros and cons of the multiple options available to you can help minimize both the environmental impact and, in the long run, the possibility of re-infestation.

Due to the incontrovertible fact that human activity is negatively impacting the environment, there is now a growing tendency in all walks of life towards finding ecologically friendly solutions to common problems. This is no different in termite control, with some consumers opting for natural methods when they are viable, or at least choosing options that minimize the ecological impact some treatments can cause.

There are, however, differing views when it comes to defining what these green alternatives are and how they can be used.

Generally speaking, termite control companies consider anything that uses fewer amounts of chemicals, or substances with less toxicity, a green alternative. Most of this stems from their use of IPM techniques, as mentioned above, but this has not always been the case.

During the first half of the 20th century, DDT was the preferred chemical used for pest control. Due to its highly toxic nature, it was regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and later banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After DDT, chlordane was heavily used for termite control. Similarly, numerous studies determined it was also harmful to humans and animals, and it was banned by the EPA in 1988.

Currently, the most common termiticide is Fipronil, marketed under the Termidor brand. Fipronil is approved by the EPA and regulated by state agencies, but its extensive use and possible adverse effects have come under heavy scrutiny. It has been found to be toxic to sea and freshwater fish, and its use in agriculture was blamed as a leading cause of the decimation of bee populations in France during the 1990s.

We spoke with Dr. Nan-Yao Su regarding Fipronils effectiveness, and he stated that Fipronil is highly effective, very toxic, and you dont need a large quantity. If a termite comes in contact with the substance it will die. However, this chemical will not kill the colony. This goes to the heart of the debate between liquid treatment versus bait treatment.

Liquid treatments are less expensive, require less maintenance, and kill termites much quicker. But their ultimate effectiveness, particularly their inability to eliminate a colony in its entirety, and their unsettled safety concerns, should entice consumers to at least consider other alternatives.

If we look at the debate as a cost-benefit issue, Dr. Su says there is no doubt that bait system is much more [cost beneficial] than liquid treatments[because] we know that if you do not have termites, you have zero termite damage potential.

As the inventor of the Sentricon system, Dr. Su is, naturally, a leading advocate of phasing out liquid treatments in favor of bait systems. When asked if he believed federal and state regulations do enough to prevent the usage of harmful chemicals for pest prevention he states that theyre absolutely not doing would think that having a product thats safe for the environment (bait systems) they would champion it and slowly phase out the other one...but theyre still allowing that old, arcane technology to be used. He continues by saying that unless some politician or consumer group raises the issue and starts pressuring them, they are not going to move.

Dr. Susan Jones provides another perspective. She agrees that in general, the bait [treatments] are more environmentally friendly than soil treatments. But, she adds that as far as the soil treatments go, there are a number of different chemistries registered...considered to be a much safer material, much lower toxicity, in particular the compound Altriset. (According to the products website, when used as directed, Altriset does not present a hazard to humans or domestic animals.)

Furthermore, Dr. Jones believes that we have very effective regulations [regarding] termiticide...and every state has a regulatory agency that is responsive to consumer complaints...from people that have had issues with application of a product.

While this may hold true at the moment, the current mandate of curbing regulations in the EPA is worth keeping an eye on to make sure that effective health and environmental protection is maintained and, whenever possible, expanded.

Not all treatment options need to use termiticides to be effective. When used correctly, natural substances and non-chemical methods can provide a measure of control and resistance against infestation.

Orange oil, the essential oil extracted from the fruits rind, can be applied as a spot treatment for areas infested by termites in order to kill them. However, it is only effective against drywood termites in a limited infestation area and will not work against larger infestations or subterranean termites.

Entomopathogenicnematodes (EPNs), also called beneficial nematodes, are microscopic roundworms that serve as biological pest control for several types of insects, and sometimes used against termites. They are an affordable and popular form of DIY pest control but, as Dr. Jones explains, "research to date has indicated the EPNs are ineffective for termite controlin real-world settings. Termites readily detect dead and dying nest mates and simplywall off areas with nematode-infected termites, hence preventing the spread of EPNs throughout the colony."

Heat and cold treatments are non-chemical methods of termite control that can be administered by licensed technicians. They can be used as spot treatments or for whole structures and are generally used only for drywood termites. Since these treatments call for either high temperatures or the use of liquid nitrogen as a freezing agent, special care needs to be taken so as not to cause damage to the structure.

All these options notwithstanding, in a broad sense, prevention might be the greenest solution of all. But, how should you go about that?

There are many things homeowners can do to reduce the likelihood of termites, says Dr. Jones, including:

Reducing the amount of wood next to the foundation of the structure. Things like using wood-based mulch is not a good idea since its a source of food for termites.

Reducing wood-to-soil contact to minimize the termites ability to transition from the soil to the wood.

Maintaining proper downspouts, making sure they work correctly and that the water is flowing away from the structure.

Not disturbing any soil that has been treated with termiticide or bait stations so as not to destroy the chemical barrier that protects the foundation or nullify the treatments effectiveness.

Reducing moisture around the home by having proper overheads and gutters.

Aside from these helpful suggestions, you should also listen to your termite control specialist and follow their instructions. They may advise you to weatherize your home, for example, by sealing cracks or fixing screens to minimize re-infestation. And its worth mentioning again: do not disturb areas that have been treated with liquid barriers or where bait stations have been installed. This can completely negate any protection they were providing.

On the other hand, sometimes we might get carried away and attempt to treat termite infestations by ourselves. A well-intentioned application of chemicals can actually exacerbate the problem: some treatments, instead of eliminating termites, can force them to spread in different directions, multiplying your problem.

Lastly, if you spot termite activity in a neighbor's house or on public property, notify the neighbor or the local agencies so that they may take steps to resolve the problem, and start setting up your own perimeter barriers to protect yourself.

As weve mentioned, choosing a company that provides satisfaction guarantees is the preferred option. But these guarantees need to be stipulated in the service contract and looked at before signing any piece of paper or committing to a treatment plan.

Many times, the service guarantee requires a yearly inspection which carries an additional cost apart from the treatment applied. Companies will re-treat the area or refund the money as long as the treatment plan is active. Other companies have 30-day guarantees after the initial method is implemented.

Be aware, though, of the language used. Any modifications on your property, such as enhancements, additions, or alterations, can affect the applied method of extermination and void any re-treatment guarantee, preventing proper eradication of the termites. In this sense, we recommend asking the termite control company what type of damage is covered under the guarantee and what the possible voiding factors are.

We interviewed Valerie D., who experienced a termite infestation in her house and contracted the services of a local pest control company. A liquid treatment was agreed upon, which required drilling into some concrete slabs. When a technician accidentally hit a pipe, the area started to flood. Her advice: Make sure that the company you hire guarantees to take responsibility for any damage they might cause. I didnt check beforehand, but was lucky they fixed the problem. If not, I was looking at several hundred dollars worth of damage.

To determine your most cost-effective option, and to make sure that youre getting the treatment you need, we recommend talking to at least three companies. Some offer free online quote processes through which they call you and provide an estimate. However, these estimates do not necessarily reflect your final costs, since a termite control professional must first inspect the problem area and determine a plan of action.

The good news is that many termite control companies offer free inspections. This way you can assess firsthand the way the company works and compare prices and methods with other service providers.

Handling pesticides and using them to treat an area is a regulated activity, and definitely not something that any Tom, Dick or Harry can or should do. Termite control companies must be accredited by the state to be able to operate legally. Customers can and should require accreditation documents or licenses before choosing a provider.

In addition, a detailed data sheet on the materials and chemicals that are used for the treatment should be provided beforehand. Termite control professionals that cannot or will not provide the requested documents should be passed over in favor of those that do.

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Top 10 Best Termite Control Companies in 2019 | Plans ...

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Cheap DIY Termite Treatment, save –

Posted: at 2:41 am

sraymond writes...

No. Pesties are trying to convey the message that doing a termite treatment without sufficient knowledge, experience and the correct equipment can leave your property at risk. But other posters choose to label this as scaremongering blah blah. It's just advise from people who know. Others can choose to listen to people who reckon they know better and can save them money. We all know that sometimes cheap doesn't end up cheap.


I service around 250 customers per week, we encounter people with maverick-type attitudes all the time.

We try to inform and educate them but at the end of the day these types just hear what they want to hear, and we have to shrug our shoulders and leave them to it. But they and the DIY-ers always end up calling us back after a few years.

You see examples of this in other industries such as Mechanics, Roof-tilers, plumbers, and ESPECIALLY Lawn-mowing services. They are not threatened by DIY-ers .(My $800,000pa income is in no danger incase you were worried)

The OP percieves the information provided has been an attack when it is nothing more than advice.

OP, I'll say it again this time a little simpler:

You have done it wrong. Do it again and do it properly as described.

As you can see, I have not tried to give you my phone number or told you to get a professional in, I'm simply saying; if you are going to do it DIY , you must do it properly, which you haven't.( I know you won't as you've already wasted $250 on the 5lt Termidor)

Op's quick dismissal of the advice given is a standard example of why there is fine print in Termite Reports.I'm guessing OP and Maverick would ignore Mechanics advice too?

Always gives us a bit of a chuckle:-He takes the car in for oil change, spark plugs etc- Mechanic tells him his oil pump is leaking and will fail, he should replace it along with the bald tyres.- He ignores the Mechanic and declare him a scammer trying to fleece more money out of them.- 3 months later the crankshaft seizes due to no oil and is tyre shreds itself.- He rings the mechanic and accuses him of deliberately causing the failure.

Am I right?I know I am.

Give a little thought to the Mav, indictive of the customer who reads the first part about no termites on-site then throws the report in the drawer without reading the rest of it until 6months later when he finds Termites.

The most likely scenario and cause of Mavericks disdain towards pesties probably went like this:

- Mav calls a pestie for a termite inspect because he is concerned- Mav books a VISUAL termite inspection -Pestie does the inspection and hands him the report- pestie says no termites however there are conducive conditions on the property and he needs to read the report.- Maverick tunes out at this point as he heard No Termites and is no longer interested.- Maverick throws the report in the drawer as he incorrectly assumes it's all cut and paste.- 3months later Maverick finds termites, and rings to abuse the pestie- Pestie tells him to read the report again , because it's obvious he didnt- Maverick skips over the part in the report again which lists things like removing the wood pile from the side of the house, draining the overflow of the hot water system away from the house, removing the tree stump - Tells the pestie that stuff is just cut and paste'; it doesn't apply to him even though that's whats brought the termites in.- Skips the part in the report where an invasive inspection is recommended, because "it's cut and paste, designed to cover the pestie" - ignores the recommendation to have a chemical barrier installed because "just like the Mechanic who said the oil pump would fail, the pestie is just trying to fleece more money"

Clearly the pestie is at fault

if there were emoticons here I would add facepalm and eyerolls.

Thanks for the giggle.

Perhaps we should start writing the "fine Print" in crayon. Maybe then you won't ignore it.

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Primitive Technology: Termite clay kiln & pottery – YouTube

Posted: October 5, 2019 at 2:43 pm

I built this pottery kiln and some pottery from termite mound clay to test an alternative clay source to my usual one from the creek bank. I started by making a large grate from ordinary clay. It was just under 50 cm in diameter. Next, I took dry chunks of termite nest and put them into the pit in front of the tiled roof hut. The chunks were crushed and water was added to slake the clay. The clay was trodden on to mix it. Dead palm fronds were added to the clay to stop it from cracking as it dried and to add insulation to the kiln. The mixture was trodden on again and then taken from the pit. A trench was dug to form the firebox of the kiln and a wall of clay was made in the front of the trench. A hole was dug into the wall to allow air flow into the firebox. The grate was placed on top of the firebox and the walls of the ware chamber were built around the grate. When the kiln walls were finished, grate bars made from termite clay were placed into the firebox. Grate bars are important for fireboxes as they lift the firewood off the ground allowing air to move up through the fuel bed for more efficient combustion. Burning wood as a heap on the ground allows cold air to flow up and over the coals, cooling the kiln and leaving the air unreacted with the fire wood. It still works but is much less efficient than using grate bars. The finished kiln was 50 cm tall (above grate height), 50 cm in diameter and with walls about 12.5 cm thick. The pit/firebox was about 25 cm deep and 25 cm wide with grate bars sitting half way between the ground and the circular kiln grate above.Next, for the pottery clay, I selected a termite mound built on red clay soil. I took it to the kiln area and slaked it with water and mixed it in a small pit. I crushed up an old grate from a previous kiln and mixed it into the termite clay as grog. Grog prevents pottery from cracking as it dries and helps prevent breakage when firing. I then shaped the clay into a small urn. I also made some barrel roof tiles and a smaller pot from termite clay. I then stacked the kiln with the termite pottery. To fire the pottery, I collected a large pile of dead wood and started a fire in the firebox. I heard some explosions in the kiln early on and knew something broke but continued anyway. Within an hour the kiln had heated up well and the pottery was glowing red hot. By the second hour the temperature went down illustrating an important point: if you over fill the firebox with wood the kiln will choke it and not burn efficiently. Realising this mistake I merely let the wood burn down a little so more air could get through. By 2 hours and 30 minutes the kiln was firing nicely again with all the pottery glowing low orange (about 845 c or 1550 f). I kept it at this low firing temperature for another 30 minutes. The whole firing process took about 3 hours from start to finish, a relatively short period of time for firing pottery. When I took the pottery out, one tile had broken and the urn had spalled (a piece of the outer pot broke off) possibly due to still having moisture in it. The urn was still useable though and I use it to water the cassava patch. The forge blower was well fired and is now immune to water damage, no longer needing to be carefully protected from the rain. I put it in the barrel tile shed for storage. I put the broken tile and spalled piece from the urn in a special heap of broken pottery. When I make pottery in future I can crush up these broken pots and mix it into the new clay as grog to strengthen the new ceramic items. Finally, I stored the good tiles at the barrel tiled hut as replacements for broken tiles in that structure should there be any damage in future.Termite clay is good material for making furnaces and an OK substitute for good pottery clay should it be difficult to find a better source. The termites have already processed the clay by the fact that their mouths are too small to include sticks and pebbles into their structures. As a result, the clay is very smooth and plastic. Too smooth for my liking, in fact, Im used to working with coarser clay that has silt mixed into it naturally. I find that termite clay is either too runny when wet or cracks too easily when drier. It was difficult to form into complex shapes and it took me 2 attempts to make the urn. But for forming objects like tiles its OK, it can be pressed into shape and it will hold without difficulty. In future, Id be likely to use termite clay for mass producing formed objects such as bricks, tiles, simple pots (formed over a mould) and possibly pipes, thereby conserving the dwindling clay supply from the creek bank which Ill save for more intricate pottery. In summary, termite clay is able to be used to produce basic pottery if no other source can be found. If you have a termite nest you can make basic pottery from it.

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These Termites Turn Your House into a Palace of Poop …

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage annually but they need help to do it. So they carry tiny organisms around with them in their gut. Together, termites and microorganisms can turn the wood in your house into a palace of poop.

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Termites such as dampwood termites use their cardboard-like poop pellets to build up their nests, turning a human house into a termite toilet. They build their own houses out of their own feces, said entomologist Michael Scharf, of Purdue University, in Indiana.

And while theyre using their poop as a building material, termites are also feeding on the wood. Theyre one of the few animals that can extract nutrients from wood. But it turns out that they need help to do this.

A termites gut is host to a couple dozen species of protists, organisms that are neither animals, nor plants, nor fungi. Scientists have found that several of them help termites break down wood.

When some protists are eliminated from the termites gut, the insect cant get any nutrition out of the wood. This is a weakness that biologists hope to exploit as a way to get rid of termites using biology rather than chemicals.

Louisiana State University entomologist Chinmay Tikhe is working to genetically engineer a bacterium found in the Formosan termites gut so that the bacterium will destroy the gut protists. The idea would be to sneak these killer bacteria into the termite colony on some sort of bait the termites would eat and carry back with them.

Its like a Trojan Horse, said Tikhe, referring to the strategy used by the Greeks to sneak their troops into the city of Troy using a wooden horse that was the citys emblem.

The bacteria would then kill the protists that help the termite derive nutrition from wood. The termites would eventually starve.

--- How do termites eat wood?

Termites gnaw on the wood. Then they mix it with enzymes that start to break it down. But they need help turning the cellulose in wood into nutrients. They get help from hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of species of microbes that live inside their guts. One bacterium, for example, combines nitrogen from the air and calories from the wood to make protein for the termites. A termites gut is also host to a couple dozen species of protists. In the termites hindgut, protists ferment the wood into a substance called acetate, which gives the termite energy.

--- How do termites get into our houses?

Termites can crawl up into a house from the soil through specialized tubes made of dirt and saliva, or winged adults can fly in, or both. This depends on the species and caste member involved.

--- What do termites eat in our houses?

Once theyre established in our houses, termites attack and feed on sources of cellulose, a major component of wood, says entomologist Vernard Lewis, of the University of California, Berkeley. This could include anything from structural wood and paneling, to furniture and cotton clothing. Termites also will eat dead or living trees, depending on the species.

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Mound-building termites – Wikipedia

Posted: at 2:43 pm

Mound-building termites are a group of termite species that live in mounds. These termites live in Africa, Australia and South America. The mounds sometimes have a diameter of 30 metres (98ft). Most of the mounds are in well-drained areas. Termite mounds usually outlive the colonies themselves. If the inner tunnels of the nest are exposed it is usually dead. Sometimes other colonies, of the same or different species, occupy a mound after the original builders' deaths.

The structure of the mounds can be very complicated. Inside the mound is an extensive system of tunnels and conduits that serves as a ventilation system for the underground nest. In order to get good ventilation, the termites will construct several shafts leading down to the cellar located beneath the nest. The mound is built above the subterranean nest. The nest itself is a spheroidal structure consisting of numerous gallery chambers.They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some, like Odontotermes termites build open chimneys or vent holes into their mounds, while others build completely enclosed mounds like Macrotermes. The Amitermes (Magnetic termites) mounds are created tall, thin, wedge-shaped, usually oriented north-south.

Workers, smallest in size, are the most numerous of the castes. They are all completely blind, wingless, and sexually immature. Their job is to feed and groom all of the dependent castes. They also dig tunnels, locate food and water, maintain colony atmospheric homeostasis, and build and repair the nest.

The soldiers' job is to defend the colony from any unwanted animals. When the large soldiers attack they emit a drop of brown, corrosive salivary liquid which spreads between the open mandibles. When they bite, the liquid spreads over the opponent. The secretion is commonly stated to be toxic or undergoes coagulation with the air which renders it glue-like.

Finally, there are the reproductives which include the king and the queen. The queen can sometimes grow up to six centimeters long while the lower classes are generally less than one centimeter.

Vegetation on termite mounds usually differs highly from vegetation in the surrounding.[1][2] In African savannas, Macrotermes mounds form 'islands' with high tree densities. This is usually attributed to the fact that due to the digging of termites and due to their decomposition of plant material, the mound soils are generally more fertile than other soil.[3][4] On top of that, mound soils have been found to contain more water than their surroundings, a clear advantage for plant growth in savannas.[4] The high tree densities on termite mounds attract high densities of browsing herbivores, due to the high nutrient contents in foliage from trees growing on mounds,[5][6] or perhaps due to the high quantities of food and shelter on mounds.[2]

The caatinga ecoregion in northeast Brazil has about 200 million termite mounds spread over an area the size of Great Britain.[7] Some of the mounds are 3m (10ft) tall and 10m (33ft) wide, and they are spaced about 20m (66ft) apart. Underneath the mounds are networks of tunnels that required the excavation of 10 cubic kilometres (2.4cumi) of dirt. Scientists performed radioactive dating on 11 mounds. The youngest mound was 690 years old. The oldest was at least 3,820 years and possibly more than twice that. The mounds were built by Syntermes dirus termites, which are about half an inch long. Deforestation in the region helped to reveal the extent of the mounds to scientists.[8] One scientist stated that the mounds apparently represent "the world's most extensive bio-engineering effort by a single insect species."[9]

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Mound-building termites - Wikipedia

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