Understanding Termites

UNDERSTANDING TERMITES

Termites

Termites are an Order of Insect that have existed for millions of Years. Termites although commonly called “White Ants” are more closely related to cockroaches and are not related to Ants.

pics-termite-3

Both termites and cockroaches have been among the longest surviving animals in the world and, obviously, can and will adapt to changing environments. Termites, like Ants are social insects and live in Colonies.

Social Insects always work and operate for the good of the colony and are willing to be sacrificed for the colony’s survival. The Prime Source of food for Termites is Cellulose, which is predominantly found in Timber. Termites can consume dried, rotting or living trees. Insurance Companies do not provide insurance against termite infestation, because of the frequency, cost and “presently unreliable” termite control available. The cost of maintaining the protection of a building against Termite attack on an annual basis is equivalent to the cost of insuring the building against all other damage that may occur, other than theft.

With the change over to less durable chemicals in 1999, the incidence of termite infestation and damage is expected to increase in line with that experienced in the USA, which banned the organochlorines: Chlordane in 1988. Termites become a problem when they damage structural timber and other materials in structures. Damage may extend to household furniture, paper products, many synthetic materials and food items.

Each year hundreds of thousands of structures, worldwide, (bridges, dams, decks, homes, retaining walls, roads, utility poles, and underground cables and pipes) require treatment for the management of termites. Proper design of a building and building practices, installation of termite management systems at the time of construction and ongoing regular inspections for termite activity can greatly reduce the risk of termite damage to structures.

Termite Location Map

pic-termite-map

The Termite Colony and Castes

All the known species of termites form and live in Colonies.

The colony comprises hundred, to thousands to millions of individuals. The mutual co-operation, which is the basis of their society, neutralises the weakness and defenceless-ness of most of the “individuals” in the colony. It also enhances the speed, scope and efficiency of the Termite activities and hence immeasurably increases their “destructive Powers”.

The mutual co-operation between the various members of the colony is based on a division of labour and the existence of physically distinct types – the Castes, each is specialised to perform certain functions for the good of the community as a whole.

The most important feature of this division of labour is the restriction of the function of reproduction to a few individuals — often to a single pair – and the sterility of a great majority of the member of the colony.

Each termite colony contains:-

Workers

subworker

  • Comprise 90% of the colony
  • Work 24 hours a day, without resting.
  • Both sexes
  • Wingless
  • Sterile
  • Blind
  • Have round, pale coloured heads
  • Soft pigmented bodies
  • Build nest and galleries
  • Tend the eggs and the young
  • Scavengers
  • Gathers food.( they alone are responsible for all damages to timbers)
  • Feeds those of the other caste which cannot feed themselves
  • Life expectancy is 4- 5 years

Soldiers

soldiers

  • Both sexes,
  • Wingless
  • Sterile
  • Blind
  • With big head and mandibles
  • Cannot feed themselves.
  • Scout for food
  • Defend, chiefly against Ants
  • Life expectancy is 4- 5 years

Alates

alates_or_winged_reproductives

  • Potential new Kings and Queens of future colonies
  • Winged
  • Well developed compound eyes
  • No duty in the colony
  • Cannot feed themselves

King

king

  • Wingless
  • Cannot feed himself
  • Companion to the queen

Queen

queen

  • Specialised egg laying machine, continuously laying @1 egg per 5 seconds, averaging 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day
  • Determines the growth and development of the entire colony
  • Cannot feed herself
  • Live expectancy- 30 years

Neoteinic reproductives

supplementary_reprods

  • Enable a colony to continue and to flourish when the King or Queen has died, either of old age or as a result of an accident.

What Termites will and can do:

  1. Will and have to EAT
  2. Work 24 hours a day
  3. Will forage up to 150 meters from the nest
  4. Will build mud galleries to maintain humidity

They need moisture to survive and will die if exposed to sunlight or open air.

Their tunnels protect them from the elements.

Workers have thin cuticles and are the most numerous caste of the colony.

Because of their thin cuticles, workers, soldiers and the queen are very susceptible to desiccation (death by excessive loss of moisture).

So the humidity of the nest is maintained at 90 to 95 percent.

To protect them against light, desiccation and predators, when termites are forced to cross a structure they build Termite Mud Tubes or Galleries.

5 Can “go through”

  1. PVC
  2. Silicons
  3. Copper
  4. Aluminum
  5. Lead

Termite Entry into Buildings

Nearly all termite damage of buildings is caused by Subterranean Termites. Termites, even though blind, will find their way into the buildings without being detected and they will find the cellulose in timbers.

HOW?

Ants will find sugar

Animals will find water

Bees will find flowers

Sharks will find blood

Termites will find “WOOD

Even if they have to go through PVC, Aluminum, Lead or Copper

Typically, 80% of termite attacks originate from termites gaining entry at the perimeter of the building, at the first course of brick or joint. Other entry points include pipe penetrations and other joints.

The Termimesh System has been developed to protect all these entry points by a patented, no chemicals, no poison, dedicated engineered physical barrier that will last the life of the building.