In their natural environment, termites live in the ground or in dead wood. Their main diet is wood. Like ants, termites have a queen that gives birth to the colony. Why are there so many termites in a colony? A termite queen can live for about 20 to 50 years and can produce close to 200 million eggs during her life. A colony that has been established for years have many areas established for feeding and housing. They move through tunnels dug up by their working termites.

Benefits of termites:

1. Termites are nature’s recyclers. They eat dead wood which gets turned into nutrients for soil. They can also break down dead leaves and other animal wastes. What’s special about their ability to do this is that certain plant fibers have a hard time breaking down on their own so the termites break them down when they eat them. Without the nutrients brought back to the soil from the termites, the forests wouldn’t last long.

2. They can lead you to gold. It has been found that termites can accumulate metals like gold in their systems when those metals are close to their nests. If you’re a gold hunter, test the bodies of nearby termites and see if you’re getting close to getting rich.

3. They are food. Some cultures eat termites when food gets scarce or just as a delicacy. They are a good source of protein and with frying or roasting, they can be very delicious. Termites can also be given as food to livestock as an alternative when other sources of feed are not available or are too expensive.

When they are harmful:

1. Termites can also consume a lot of crops. When you’re a farmer and your harvest is small due to termite consumption, it can be very frustrating.

2. Vegetation and trees can be eaten by termites especially when the season is dry. Termites can get into dead branches or bark and start eating away at trees.

3. Termites are no laughing matter. Uncontrolled, they can eat away at the wood structure of your house and your house can quickly become dangerous to live in. It will cost thousands of dollars to fix or replace the wooden structure of your house. Because termites live in small tunnels in wood and wood structures are covered in houses, a termite infestation is not easily seen early on. Usually a lot of damage has been done before a termite problem
comes to light.

How can they be controlled?

1. Natural methods: A main predator to the termites are birds. If you put out bird feeders near your home, you will attract many species of birds that can also feed on termites nearby. This will help keep the termite population down.

2. Build better: If you’re building a house and the area you’re building in is susceptible to termites, make sure all wood that makes up the main structure of the house is half a foot from the ground. This makes it harder for underground termites to access the wood. Use pressure-treated wood when building decks or wooden fences so that they are resistant to termites. You  can also seal your wood with protective paints though it isn’t as good as building with pressure-treated wood.

3. Be clean: Make sure the area near your home is free of dead wood, root stocks and stumps, or firewood piles. Avoid wood chips in flowerbeds by your house. Rake and burn or throw out any dead leaves collecting on your lawn.

4. Landscape well: Make sure the soil drains away from the house when it rains. Plant trees away from your house about one metre. Make sure no vegetation touches your home.

Have termite infestation? Act fast! Call Swarm Pest Control Brisbane to remove termites from your home before they do major damage to the structure of your house.

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