Termite Colonies

February 18, 2019

Your house is your sanctuary. And you need to protect it from harm. In Australia alone, termites cost as much as 800 million dollars in property damage every year. It is called a “silent destroyer” for they can cause a tremendous amount of damage to any wooden structure like furniture and walls.

Subterranean termites are social insects that live in nests or colonies in the soil. They live in a highly organized caste system in an underground colony.  Each colony consists of the alates (winglike structures) and the three forms or castes:  reproductives, workers, and soldiers.  

A pair of alates generates their own colony. In here, the queen can lay millions of eggs over her lifetime. On the average, the queen can lay 30,000 eggs in a day. Since the queen cannot move, the entire termite nest is built around her. Therefore, providing nutrients for her offsprings.

Reproductives or “swarmers” can be winged (primary) or wingless (secondary). When the Reproductives mature, they emerge from the colony to grow new colonies.

The workers, on the other hand, are responsible for feeding the colony which they do by regurgitation.  As the other termites cannot feed themselves.  Workers forage for food everyday by building tunnels and mud tubes from the colony to the food they find.  Once they discover food, they mark it with pheromone.  Pheromone is the chemical they produce to communicate with each other.

Lastly, the soldiers’ job is to protect the colony from invaders like ants. 

Each termite has their specific role and they depend upon one another for survival. A colony can populate from thousands of termites to millions and it is common to find two or more colonies competing for food around your property. Termites can enter your home through an opening as small as 1/32 of an inch. If there is a settlement crack loose mortar joint a small space around the drainpipe or a crack in your foundation. They’re in, and the damage begins. Swarming of winged adult termites is a typical sign of termite infestation. 

To protect your home from termite infestation, and to actually save money, hiring terminators should not be necessary.  There are useful steps you can do on your own.  First, is to spot the infestation.  Second, is the preventive maintenance:  keep firewood, lumber, paper or other debris away from the ground outside your house.  Including tree stumps, plant cover, and mulch.  Eliminate moisture problems and seal all portals of possible entry.  Third, is to fortify the defenses: Create a barrier around the outside of your home using “bait stations” with stakes five to ten feet apart around your house. Check these stakes regularly and replenish as required.  

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