First thought … Gross!
Even the name “termite” seems to invoke an itchy, creepy feeling on the skin. Termites can be creepy and destructive to property but what else is there to know about these isopteras -- a type of insect. Once called the “white ant” or “woodworm,” termites deserve their own place in the world, you just may not want them inside your home. After all, they are destructive!
Commonly found throughout North America, termites have probably taken a bite out of something near you. In fact, termites and similar pest can cause up to $30 billion worth of damages annually. They are most active in the warmer months of the year, and depending on what type of termite, may be drawn to dry or wet climates.
So why do termites get a bad wrap in North America? And why do these myths need to be debunked?
5 Myths about Termites:
- All termites eat homes and structures. False! There are over 2,750 species of termites, however, only about 10% of those have been reported as a “pest”. Depending on one's location, there could be several different species of termites found in the area, though it’s not always all of them that want to eat the house from the inside out.
- Termites are the same as ants, aside from their diet. False! Termites are more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants. Just like their cousin cockroaches, a species of termite has been crawling/flying on the Earth since around the Jurassic period.
- All termites should be killed. False! Actually, many breeds of termites are important. It may sound strange, but just like other insects, termites have a purpose. (And remember, there are plenty of non-wood-eating termites.) By decomposing and breaking down (wood/plant matter), termites help aid in new growth and with ecosystem development.
- Termites are just a silly bug. Far from it, really. Termite colonies act on a “hive mind.” Many scientists even compare the way a termite colony functions as a superorganism, due to the cooperative behavior and communal existence. Equivalent to a bee or ant colony, termites work together for one common goal and queen. Who knew?!
- Termites make a great source of protein. True! While this may sound outlandish to some, people all over the world eat these insects as a vital and important protein in their diet. (Yes, really.) Termites are actually a delicacy. Additionally, many primates, birds, and other insects also survive on eating termites and keep populations at a norm.
Now that these common myths have been debunked about termites, it is necessary to reiterate that keeping a home safe and pest free is important. So even though not all termites are “bad,” or rather, destructive, not wanting to share a space with them is completely understandable.
Contact us to learn more about termite control.