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Know Thy Enemy: Termites

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Jessica
08.19.12

They were the villains in Antz and can cause widespread destruction to your deck, but how much do you really know about termites? These social insects live in large, complex colonies and do tons of interesting stuff (besides eat your house). For example, some termites are actually farmers – they grow and harvest fungi in their colonies!

Before you embark on a mission of eradication, take the time to learn a little about termites so you can mount an informed defense. To learn more about dealing with termites, read: Pest Control: Termites.

Super-Cool Termite Facts:

Despite their reputation, termites are actually good for wood and forests. They help break down dead and decaying trees faster, and they aerate soil as they tunnel into the ground.

- Termites are good daddies. After the young hatch, male termites stick around to help out with child-rearing duties like feeding.

- Termite armies are blind. Since soldier termites spend almost their entire lives underground, they don’t need eyes! The only termites that possess eyesight are reproductive termites, which go above ground to find mates and new nesting grounds.

- Termites are clean freaks. Subterranean colonies are extremely prone to bacteria and parasites, so termites spend a lot of time grooming each other to avoid infection.

- Termites are sneaky. It can be hard to detect termites until they’ve already become a big problem. Part of the reason this happens is because termites build shelter tubes out of mud to travel from their underground colonies into your house. If you ever notice pencil-thick mud tunnels around your foundation, it’s a good idea to check for termites!

          

 

Photos: Cottage Chic / Frederick + Frederick Architects

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