Termites are one of the most interesting species of ants, their organized way of life causing a real curiosity among researchers and explorers.
Termites live in colonies, like bees or ants and can be found on all continents, except for Antarctica. They are widespread in the South of Europe, Asia and South Africa. Many termites can also be found in Australia, South America and the Southern part of North America.
Their impressive organized life
Their “constructions” can reach heights up to 15 m, with a diameter of two times the width, getting very close to the same dimension of four or five storey buildings made my man.
The “constructions” in tropical regions even have a basement, which is up to five meters deep. In other regions of the globe they grouped their homes, creating entire cities, equipped with streets and underground passages. These cities are built on tens of miles and have been around for many centuries. Thanks to the construction itself, inside the termites’ homes there is always a constant temperature.
Depending on the role they have in the colony, termites are either workers, which are not larger than 3 mm, and termite soldiers guarding all the crossings. The latter are much larger achieving even 2 centimeters.
We also have the queen and king, the former being much bigger that her partner. She has an extraordinary reproductive capacity, being able to lay up to 10.000 eggs daily. She rarely moves and if she does, it’s only short distances. She is cared for and fed by other termites.
Why do termites attack homes?
Although there are few people who would deny that these insects are fascinating, most people still considered harmful, since they are one of the most destructive insects. It’s the reason why many people turn to professional to find affordable cost of termite treatment. But scientists regard them otherwise. In their natural habitat, termites are useful members of the world.
First, they decompose lifeless plant material in simple compounds. Thus, termites reintroduce the nutrients needed by plants. Secondly, they are a major food source. Termites are eaten by almost all kinds of birds and numerous mammals, reptiles, amphibians and various insects. They are very high in fat and protein. They help maintain the soil. When they are building or repairing their nests, termites mix the deep soil with the one at the surface. They crumble large pieces of dead plants, forming humus. By maintaining their activity underground, termites create galleries where air and water circulate. In this way, they improve the texture, structure and soil fertility.
What it is the reason why termites invade human settlements? People have moved to the habitat of termites and removed most of the plant resources used by them. To live, termites have to eat and they usually feed on dead plants. If these are taken, termites feed on wood construction made by man, such as houses and barns, causing severe damages every year.
Except for the damage they can bring to constructions, termites are useful creatures. In a natural way, they are responsible with a permanent hygiene of forests in tropical regions. They also “take care” of rotten wood, trees, dead plants etc.
Scientists have learned to defend their homes from the angry termites by soaking the wood with various powerful poisons that kill termites when they try to attack. But sometimes, this measure doesn’t work and you have to get a pest control specialist.