Things You May Not Know About Termites

Even though they are a major pest if they're in your home, termites are very fascinating. They have a complex life that many people aren't aware of. Knowing more about termites can help you identify and keep them from damaging your home. Here are six lesser-known facts about termites and how they live.

Termites Are Ancient

Termites are an ancient species. Scientists have found fossils of them from the Permian period before the earliest dinosaurs. They actually evolved from ancient cockroaches.

Termites Eat Things Other Than Wood

While wood makes up the bulk of their diet, termites will also eat paper and fabric, most notably clothing. They like food sources with lots of cellulose and will chew on or eat some types of natural fabrics. In some instances, they may even attempt to eat plastic, though they are often unsuccessful. Large quantities of paper and fabric may be an extra attractant to them and other pest species.

Termites Clean Each Other

Termites clean each other to reduce disease-causing bacteria. However, that doesn't make them harmless to humans. Termites disturb mold spores and indirectly contribute to health problems such as asthma.

Termite Queen and Kings Rule

Unlike many other insects that live in colonies, both the king and queen stay together in the nest. The male's role, outside of mating with the queen, is not well-known. However, the male may play some role in feeding the colony.

Termite Queens Are Long-Lived

Queens are known to live for decades. The lifespan of the king is less known but could last at least a decade or more. The colony may contain other reproductive adults that have long lives. Workers and soldiers tend to live two years or less.

Termites Species That Damage Homes Are Few

Termites are extremely important for the environment. The majority of species do not cause problems for humans. Only a few dozen species see your home as a food source. Most species prefer to live in warm, humid areas with lots of weakened and rotting wood. A few species like drier conditions.

While termites are interesting, you shouldn't have them anywhere near your home. During the spring, keep an eye out for anything that looks like a flying ant. The exact time they swarm depends on your location. Some southern locations may swarm in early spring. Northern locations may have swarms in late spring or even summer.

Have your home inspected to ensure that you don't have any termite attractants or early colonies. If you suspect you have a termite infestation or you want to know more about preventing termites, contact a pest control company, like Good News Pest Solutions.