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A Spotlight on Termites

June 20, 2016

Termites are intriguing little creatures. Well, at least at a distance. Or in any other home besides your own.

household pests termites

The wood terminators’ populations are enormous – there are over one quadrillion termite citizens on the planet – spread across 2,600 unique species. Their ability to chew and gnaw through wood and plant matter is their calling card, making termite removal in homes imperative. Outdoors, they’re an important element to certain ecosystems. And they’re pretty famous… they have made appearances at the White House and the Statue of Liberty after all.

Besides celebrity tours across the U.S., termites have a lot more interesting features in addition to making wood magically disappear. These socially complex creatures are more than just a one-trick pest; this is what makes them unique.

Termites Live in Poop.

After a hard day’s work of eating wood continuously, termite infestations return home to their fortresses of poop. Though termites never sleep and are up 24 hours/day, they still enjoy the comfort of home. And what better way to make it their own than using, uh, personal materials?

Termites nests are made from a combo of chewed wood, dirt, and feces. You’d think the warm, moist, enclosed environment (think porta potty) would be riddled with disease. But termite droppings produce a natural antibiotic, allowing them to wallow in their waste.

To be fair, it’s kind of like building a (stinky) house made from wood; termite droppings are almost exclusively a by-product of lumber after all.

Termite Poop=Termite Power.

In order for termites to digest wood, they’re aided by tiny microbes that live in their tiny guts. These microbes could be a fuel source for more than the termite hosts they reside in.

Scientists have looked into these microbes, and they curiously produce hydrogen from the digested wood. If these microbes can be harnessed by humans, there’s potential for these organisms to power hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells are a clean type of battery energy whose emissions are nothing but water.

Termite Gut Microbes Could Benefit Humans.

Sticking with the gut, the innards of termites can continue to provide value to us humans. A particular microorganism in a termite’s hindgut (the equivalent to the human colon) produces centrin at an incredibly voluminous rate. In fact, it creates this protein more abundantly than any creature in existence.

How does this help humans? Centrin is related to cell division, and by studying its properties, scientists can learn a lot more about runaway cell division – or as we commonly refer to it as, cancer.

Making a Mountain out of a Termite Hill.

You’ve probably seen those giant termite mounds in a National Geographic magazine or the Discovery channel. These colossal skyscrapers of pulp and poop can scale to Trump Tower-like heights; one mound found in Africa measured 42 feet high. That’s as tall as a two-story house!

Termite infestations also erect freestanding ‘mud tubes’, allowing the pests to travel outside their nests in the comfort of their own feces. This prevents them from drying out, and allowing easy access to wooded areas they’ve targeted. These don’t get as ginormous as termite mounds, but they can climb to around 12 feet.

Termites are Kamikazes.

In the kingdoms of particular termite species, elders aren’t respected. Once termites age, they’re bestowed the unenviable task of nest defence. And they do it in a very unusual way.

These old termites accumulate toxic substances in their backs, and when the colony is threatened, they’ll explode in the act of self-sacrifice. In termites’ eyes – which isn’t saying much, since they’re blind – this is the only value termite elders provide to the colony.

Honey bees can empathize; they usually die after they sting an attacker in defence, as their stinger usually rips out several internal organs along with it. Never forget.

Being armed with newfound termite knowledge probably hasn’t softened your stance like the poop nests termite infestations reside in. Termite removal is crucial if you spot the household pests, otherwise they’ll disintegrate the wood structures of your home to create theirs.

Magical Pest Control can solve any type of termite problem you have, or answer any questions regarding termite removal. Give us a call today at (800)-844-8235.






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