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Eight unusual facts about termites

3 May 2017

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Dubbed the ‘silent destroyers’, termites have been known to wreak havoc on residential and commercial properties. These common critters can create a nightmare for property owners due to their ability to cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to Australian homes and businesses. Although they are one of Perth’s most common residential and commercial pests, here are a few things you may not know about troublesome termites.

  • The early bird catches the worm – Talk about tired, you may be surprised to find out termite colonies never sleep. These common pests work 24 hours per day, seven days per week without resting. Maybe we don’t have it so bad after all!
  • Strength in numbers – Termite colonies can comprise more than one million of the troublesome bugs. It’s estimated that the termite queen lays an egg every 15 seconds. That’s a lot of termite eggs considering the typical lifespan of the queen is around 18 years. No wonder termite colonies can grow to be so big!
  • Termites produce methane – Similarly to cows, termites are known to produce methane when digesting food. Whilst each termite only produces a minute amount of methane, this accumulates into a much larger emission when you add up the world’s overall termite population – we’re talking millions of tonnes per year!
  • Termites have a long history – Whilst termites are often thought to be closely related to ants (subterranean termites are commonly known as “white ants”), studies have shown termites actually share an ancestor with the common cockroach. Much like the cockroach, termites have been roaming the Earth for around 250 million years.
  • The “social cockroach” – Termites are commonly referred to as the “social cockroach”.  Whilst cockroaches are largely individualistic, termite colonies work together in numbers. Every termite colony is organised into different caste systems, each of which has different roles and responsibilities. The three primary caste systems are reproductives, workers and soldiers.
  • Many termites are blind – Both worker and soldier termites are actually blind. Only the queen, king and reproductive termites develop eyes. Since termites also work in the dark, the common pests depend on pheromones (chemical signals) and vibrations to communicate.
  • Termites use their heads to alert their colony of danger: Soldier termites are responsible for informing their colony of imminent danger and potential predators. If an enemy is approaching, the soldiers will use a head-banging technique to create vibrations alerting their fellow termites of an approaching threat. The worker termites (responsible for working on tunnels) will then retreat to the colony’s nest for safety.
  • An unlikely predator- Ants are termites’ most common predator, and will often actively hunt the common pests. Other suspects include birds, flies, spiders, lizards, and even humans! That’s right, termites are regarded as a tasty snack in several parts of the world!

Discovered a pest infestation?

Leaving a termite problem unattended for a long time could cost Perth home and business-owners a lot of money and stress. If you suspect a colony of termites has invaded your home or business, you will need to contact Perth’s termite control experts to remove the infestation safely. At Bug Busters in Osborne Park, our technicians are highly trained in the use of safe and effective pest control methods. From termites to rodents, we have Perth homes and businesses covered for all their bug busting needs!

Spotted a pest infestation? Call Bug Busters today on (08) 9493 1313 to organise an inspection.