By Entomology @ Extrasense
What are they?
Termites are tiny insects with huge mandibles and a wide waist that feeds mainly on wood, roots, grasses, cardboard, etc. Despite their large mandibles and tiny size, believe it or not, are more closely related to cockroaches than to ants.
In the US these insects are categorized into two general groups according to their habits: wood dwelling and subterranean termites.
The wood dwellers typically enter the wood directly at the time of swarming and build their nests within it.
The subterranean termites are generally ground dwellers, some construct underground nests, others build mounds, and a few construct arboreal nests with connections to the soil.
These varied lifestyles make a proper identification of species essential to effective control measures.
What's the risk?
Due to their wood-focused diet, they are classified as the most destructive home pests in the United States causing $2 billion dollars in damages each year.
Infestations occur primarily from March to June and in September and October.
What can you do?
Infestations can be prevented by avoiding the storage of wood and cellulose composed material, reducing humidity, and avoiding the contact of wood foundations to the ground.
However, once an infestation has appeared, treating it by a professional is needed.
Do you think you have termites in your home?
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2006). Healthy Housing Reference Manual. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/publications/books/housing/cha04.htm
- Daley, J. (2018). Termites Are Moving in With Cockroaches, Taxonomically. Smithsonian Magazine. Available at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/termites-are-moving-cockroaches-taxonomically-180968332/
- Krishna, K., Grimaldi, D. A., Krishna, V., & Engel, M. S. (2013). Treatise on the Isoptera of the world.(Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 377).