Termites: What Exactly Are They?

Termites: What Exactly Are They?

Scott Bailey / February 26, 2019

Termites can be found within the USA. Termites all belong to the classification of phylum Arthropoda, the class Insecta, and the order Isoptera. They are the infraorder of eusocial insects that are familiar to cockroaches. There are over 2,300 species of termites. They have soft bodies and straight antennae. They vary in size and the queens and kings are larger, capable of reaching over one inch long. The colors of termites range from white to light brown where worker termites often appear lighter colored, while swarming termites are of a darker color. Flying termites are called reproductives. They have two pairs of prevalent wings. Most of the termites are found in tropical or subtropical regions such as deserts and rain forests. However, more than 50 species can be found in the USA, Australia, and Asia. Within the USA, termites cause more than $12 billion in annual damage, repairs, and termite prevention costs. Termites are a major pest in Japan, South East Asia, India, France and Australia. No matter where they are found, termites wreak havoc damaging structures.

Subterranean termites build large colonies under the ground, which consist of very elaborate tunnels and chambers. These colonies contain Worker termites that build protective tunnels with mud and saliva. These tunnels reach above-ground wood. The diet of the termite consists of wood and other cellulose material. Termites are classified into groups. The three major groups are subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. Further, subterranean termites are divided into more groups such as the Western subterranean termite, Eastern, Formosan, Desert, and the Arid-land subterranean termite.

Below are various types of termites:
Alates (swarmers): Dark-brown to black color, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long with two pairs of wings equal in length.
Worker termites: With this type of termite there are no wings. They are approximately 1/4 inch or less in length and cream colored.
Soldier termites: Again, they have no wings. They have large jaws. They are termite colony defenders. Their color is creamy-white and their heads have a brownish color.

Pest Control in St. Louis

A termite infestation causes severe damage to your home or property. Termites, often called the �silent destroyer�, hide and thrive in your home or yard. They silently inflict damage without any immediate signs of detection. Termites eat cellulose-based plant materials. Regardless of their construction material, all homes provide cellulose food for termites to eat. Found within the USA, are subterranean, drywood, and dampwood termites. They like moist or damp conditions. Though termites do serve a purpose, they cause expensive damage to a building or structure. Ecologically beneficial, termites break down detritus to add nutrients to soil. These same behaviors that prove helpful to the ecosystem in turn cause severe damage to buildings and your home. Primarily, termites feed on wood. They compromise the strength and safety of a structure. Structures become inhabitable until expensive repairs are completed. Take precaution and have a thorough termite inspection conducted on your home or business property. Call a reputable termite inspection service to review your home or business and suggest the course of action to take to prevent and avoid further damage.

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