Each year, termites cause over $3 billion in damage in the United States alone. This tiny insect wreaks more havoc on an annual basis than all other natural disasters combined! But what can you do about this destructive bug? To control and prevent termite damage, it is important to not only properly identify this pest, but also understand its life-cycle and ecology.
At first glance, a termite might look like a common ant. Termite’s bodies, like ants, are divided into three sections: head, thorax, and abdomen. However, an ant’s body is distinctly segmented by dramatic narrowing at the “waist” and “neck”, while termites are more uniform the entire length of their bodies. Antennae also give clues to the bug’s identity, as ants have kinks, or elbows, in their antennae, while termite antennae are straight.
The wings of a termite also differ in shape and color from those of an ant. Although both bugs have two sets of wings, the fore wings of an ant are larger than their hind wings. In contrast, termite wings are equal in size and shape. Ant wings are transparent or brownish in color, while termite wings have a milky-white or grayish cast.
How Termites Work
To us humans, termites are pests. However, termites do have significant ecological importance as they convert tons of logs, stumps, branches, etc. into organic matter. Plant material or anything containing cellulose is the main food source of the termite, which becomes problematic when they turn to house building materials for a meal.
Termites function via a sophisticated caste system, similar to other colonizing insects like bees or ants. Kings and queens are the primary reproducing termites, but secondary “reproductives” serve as back up to the king and queen. Worker termites perform the main labor tasks in the colony, while soldier termites defend the colony from threats.
Why Termites Appear
Around March to May, you may notice swarms of insects in windows or around doors, especially following a rain. These termites are known as alates, winged reproductive caste termites on the hunt to establish a new colony. Termites depend on large amounts of water to survive and are more likely to establish themselves in homes with moisture issues, such as those resulting from flat roofs, leaking pipes, poor ventilation, or clogged gutters.
Termite Control Options
Properly maintaining a home and solving any moisture related issues is the first step in termite control. Here at Ace of Blades in Northwest Arkansas, we also offer a Termite Damage Protection Plan to protect your home from an infestation. Using extensive control methods, such as a solid barrier treatment around your home, we give you years of protection and peace of mind. Each year, we inspect your home to ensure it remains termite free. If termites do make an appearance, Ace of Blades will repair any damage caused by the termites up to $100,000. Contact us today to learn more about our Termite Damage Protection Plan!