Exactly What is a Termite?

Text-only Preview

Exactly What is a Termite?

A termite is a little insect that feeds mostly on wood. This bug is black, tan, or white in color
and lives in a nest with other termites. These bugs are reasonably primitive and have soft
bodies, thick waists, and undergo incomplete metamorphosis. However, they have
developed incredible patterns of social conduct similar to those of ants, wasps, and social
bees. There are about 2000 known species of these insects and many of them are located in
tropical countries. Some termite types inhabit North and South America's temperate regions,
and two species are established in Southern Europe.

There are no solitary termites. A solitary nest can have between 100 and 1 million of these
insects. Their favored meal is wood, however they also devour additional materials that
include cellulose. The cellulose is absorbed by the protozoans that are living symbiotically in
the intestinal tract of a termite worker. The protozoans in a termite worker's intestines
produce enzymes when they break down the cellulose they eat. These enzymes are used as
elements that are assimilated by the other termite members in the nest. The termite workers
distribute the digested cellulose to the other members of the nest that do not have
protozoans. Other termite species eat vegetable molds and cultivate them.

Termite nests (termitaries) vary widely in appearance. Certain tropical termite types construct
substantial mound like nests that are frequently 20 feet or even more in height. These termite
mounds have really hard walls because they are constructed from soil cemented with termite
saliva and they are baked by the sun. There are numerous galleries and chambers inside a
single termite nest. These galleries and chambers are interconnected by a network of
passageways. There are 55 termite species common in the United States and most of these
species create nests underground. Subterranean termite species are really harmful since
they can easily tunnel their way into a wooden structure in search of food.

In order to avoid damages by these insects, a building's foundation should be built of
products that don't include cellulose such as steel, brick, and stone. Nonetheless, gaps could
still develop in materials such as brick and stone. These cracks will allow the termites to
access the wooden areas of a structure. Therefore, the ground surrounding the structure
must be treated with insecticide in order to discourage termites from infesting the structure. A
termite infestation can even be controlled by using wood that is treated with poisonous
chemicals such as creosote.


What is a Termite?, Exactly What is a Termite?, Just What is a Termite?