As spring approaches so do many of our six-legged friends…ants, roaches, and TERMITES! This week, March 15-21 has been designated Termite Awareness Week. Your friends at Terminix want to remind you that we are here for all of your termite and pest control needs.
As we celebrate the TERMITE this week, we thought that you might want to know a few interesting facts about this invisible insect and the effects that they have on our environment.
Termites are social insects and live in colonies. Within these colonies there are three main castes and during certain times a fourth caste.
- Workers (little white ants) forage for food and help feed the rest of the colony.
- Soldiers protect the colony against predators such as ants and other insects.
- Reproductives (queen and king) help the colony grow. The queen is the key member of the colony. All other members do their job to protect her.
- Swarmers appear only during certain times of the year and at certain stages of the colony’s development. They are the winged termites that people see (mainly during the spring in Arkansas). Their job is to leave one colony and start a new one.
There are multiple species of termites around the world. The termite species that is most common in Arkansas is the Eastern Subterranean Termite (Reticulitermes flavipes).
These termites require three (3) things for survival:
- Food (Cellulose found in wood or wood-based products)
- Moisture (Require a consistent source of moisture)
- Moderate to tropical environment
The Eastern Subterranean Termite typically lives and forages within the soil. However, if they are able to access a consistent moisture source above ground (i.e., leak in a house), then they are able to establish a satellite colony above ground (aerial colony).
A termite colony can vary in size from several hundred thousand members to a few million.
Termite colonies can consume up to fifteen (15) pounds of wood in a single week.
While the 15 pounds of wood consumed in a week sounds scary, termites are major contributors to the environment as they help the decomposition process in the wild. It is only when termites forage and find a home or business that they become a menace to society.
During this time of year, the most common termite that people see will be the swarmer (winged termite). Below is a comparison picture between a swarming termite and swarming ant. The three main differences are the shape of the antennae (termite antennae are straight), the different sizes of wings (all four termite wings are the same size), and the shape of the body (termites are straight waisted).
We hope that you enjoy the spring weather and sunshine that is on its way. More importantly, we hope that termites don’t decide to visit your home this spring or any other season.