Termites (lat. Isoptera) are detachment of primitive herbivorous insects that are related to the cockroaches. Termites are the only insects that in a short time can destroy any wooden structures, as their main food is cellulose, which is a part of every cell of trees and other plants. The secretive way of life and a special manner of absorption of wood, which leaves the front surface of wooden structures completely untouched, lead to the fact, that termites can be for a long time in the house and be undetected. Sometimes, from the moment of invasion of termites till their detection passes for at least five years.
Individuals of termites clearly divided into three main groups: the working individuals, individuals-soldiers and individuals, which are capable for sexual reproduction. Working termites have a soft white body, usually less than 10 mm in length. Soldiers can be light yellow, orange, reddish-brown or black. The bodies of adult termites and their wings are painted in different colors from whitish-yellow to black. The number of families is different, from a few hundred termites (Kalotermitidae) up to several million individuals (Rhinotermitidae, Termitidae).
The largest colonies of termites live in the tropical and subtropical regions, less – in the warmer areas of temperate climate. Their reticence and tactics of eating the wood, at which its surface looks completely undamaged, are the cause of their late detection. The fear also causes inadvertent entry of termites in the apartment, so that their habitation moves in those regions, where they can not live openly because of the climate.
Nest locations of these insects are in different places: the trunks and branches of trees, tree stumps, logs, ground soil. But most of them are united by the closed surface in contrast to the ants, which have at least several openings, connected with the outside world.
Harm to human
The main food of termites is the cellulose contained in the wood, grass and leaves of trees, so they can cause significant economic damage. According to various studies this damage amounts to several billion dollars per year, damaging the wooden constructions and woody species.
Having penetrated into the house, termites do not eat only wood: all things, which have high percentage of cellulose, become potential food. The consequences of this sometimes are catastrophic (for example, in South America because of the constant presence of termites in urban areas is very rare to find a book older than 50 years). Danger of destruction by termites can be compared with the work of wood beetles, but termites are faster and more devastating.
The first thing you may find – it’s not even damage of the wood itself, but the appearance of ground covered gallery for movement across the ceiling, walls and other surfaces. Due to this termites can destroy very dry wood, feeding on the necessary moisture in mobile ground galleries. Communication with the ground is constant.
You will hear characteristic empty sound, if you knock on wood damaged by termites. Sometimes you can notice the round holes on the surface of the wood. Pay special attention to darkened moist places – a wooden skeleton, joints of the foundation and walls.
Causes, why appear such insects in the houses.
The appearance of termites is directly related with the presence of wood in the house. Because the wooden surface is the main food of these pests, you should be very attentive to you house.
Another danger associated with termites is their relationship with the moisture. Most species are attracted by damp wood. Accordingly to the researches, 95 percent of all cases of penetration of termites into the house are connected with the problem of excessive moisture, such as holey roof or leaking pipes. Dampness is also a breeding ground for mold.
Period of activity of the pests
Termites do not like the light, and practically all their lives spend in the darkness. Termites are active all year round – during the summer and even in the winter.
Termite activity levels and active termite species vary by region. Each species can be found in the particular region of the US that offers the right balance of moisture and temperature.
Termites are different from other insects by a combination of symptoms. They have incomplete Metamorphose. The adult individual (imago) develops from larvae (nymphs) after several molts. So, life cycle of termites is the next: eggs-nymphs-adult.
The wings are present only in the reproductive individuals, almost identical, long, with a seam at the base on which they break off immediately after summer. It is one of the unique features of the behavior of males and females. New colonies base winged males and females. In the tropics, it is usually at the beginning of the rainy season. After flying from several up to several hundred meters, they land, spread their wings and form pairs. The termite’s nests range from simple holes in the tree or on the ground to high structures (termite mounds), which are permeated by cameras and moves on the surface.
Methods of dealing
If you find termites in your home, it is better, of course, to ask for the help in special company, which has experience in the destruction of these insects. But if you are confident in your abilities, then you can use the following methods to control termites:
- Spray or treat the place of detection termites by insecticide (poison);
- Lubricate the place of detection termites by the following means: carbolineum, chloronaphthalene or aqueous solution of sodium;
- Gassing (fumigation).
To prevent the emergence of termites in your home, you should as far as possible take the following measures:
- Build your house definitely on the high foundation in order to wooden structures have been above ground level – without contact with it.
- If the house was built, then you can dig a trench around it 100 * 100 cm, and cover it with sand.
- Natural environment for termites is moist soil. So if your home is surrounded by it, try to get rid of it.
- Pay attention that around your home does not accumulate water. Think about, or consult with a specialist, how you can make gully.
- Check the ventilation system.
- Process the contact points of the tree with the external environment.
- Use the wood, which is resistant to certain types of termites.