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Termite Damage Has Always Plagued Americans

Termite Damage Has Always Plagued Americans | Magic Pest Control

Termites are destructive insect pests that cost America billions of dollars in damages each year. The destructive potential of termites is well understood by modern scientists, pest control professionals and even the public. These days there exists many different forms of termite control. Preventative termite control measures are not just taken by pest control professionals, but also by construction contractors. It is common for termite barriers to be installed around the foundation’s of newly built homes. These termite prevention measures have been used for years, and some states are requiring all new homes to include effective termite barriers to be installed during construction. However, despite all the advanced termite control methods being used in America today, termites continue to cause massive amounts of damage to homes all over the country. It is hard to believe that there was a time in America when termite control methods were largely non-existent, but this was the case in the early 20th century and before. In fact, during this same time, termites were hardly understood by scientists at all. Reading early 20th century scientific publications on termites can offer modern readers a glimpse into an America without effective termite control methods.

According to a Scientific American article written in 1920 called Termites of the Temperate Zone, primary school students were told about termite anatomy and the massive amounts of destruction that they had caused in foreign lands. At the time, very little was known about termites, except for the fact that they consume cellulose in wood. Many experts believed that commercial construction projects pushed termites out of their native habitats. However, this belief was challenged after several termite infestations had been found within government buildings located in the nation’s capital.

Termites had made a habit out of destroying important government documents in Washington DC. Eventually this problem became serious enough for the Bureau of Entomology to step in with advice on how to prevent such damages. It was toward the beginning of the 20th century that people realized that termite destruction can occur within any state, and not just coastal states. For example, in 1916, a storm had blown through southwestern Texas. This storm took down several types of wooden infrastructure, while steel-based types of infrastructure remained in tact. It did not take long for experts to notice that the state’s wooden telephone poles, fences and even wooden windmills had blown over as a result of termites nesting within these structures.

Also around this time, more and more homes were being attacked by termites, which prompted reforms in how homes were to be constructed. For example, wood from timber-made homes could no longer make contact with ground soil. For decades, American citizens hoped to prevent termite infestations by focusing on construction methods as opposed to pest control poisons. Luckily, modern Americans are not nearly so defenseless against termite attacks.

If you live in an old home, do you ever question whether or not it has, or has had a termite infestation?

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How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

How Do Violent Conflicts Between Termites Influence Their Lifespans?

Termites are relatively understudied insects within the field of entomology. This is somewhat surprising given the significant economic costs associated with termite structural damage. Termites in the United States alone cause billions of dollars each year in damages. You would think that a greater scientific understanding of termite behavior would be desired in order to more effectively combat these destructive insects. However, termites are regarded with widespread disinterest, as there are many other fascinating insects in the world that capture the curiosity of academics and scientists. Although termites may not be the most interesting of insects, the fact that termite queens can survive for a longer amount of time than any other insect species is worthy of attention. A recent study examined how intercolony conflict between termites can influence the lifespan of queen and king termites. Additionally, the study authors were able to determine how warring termite colonies resolve conflict after the death of each side’s royal pairs.

For the study, researchers collected Z. n. nevadensis termite species from the wild. These termites spend much of their lives in trees where encounters between different colonies are common. The researchers placed two different colonies into artificial arboreal conditions in order to gauge intercolony behavior. Since termite colonies vary drastically in age, encounters between two colonies of the same age is not the norm. When two termite colonies of the same age made contact in the lab, violence soon followed. The subsequent conflict resulted in the deaths of a royal pair from one colony while the royal pair from the other colony survived. The remaining workers and soldiers from the defeated colony were eventually absorbed into the victorious colony. When colonies of different ages were introduced, the older colonies killed off the younger colonies entirely, leaving the royal pair and all of their worker and soldier offspring dead. It was also found that termite queens would die unusually young if they had survived previous intercolony conflicts. The reason for this is not clear, but researchers believe that the queens may have died young due to injuries sustained during previous skirmishes. In general, colonies that are relatively large will live for a longer period of time than smaller colonies.

Have you ever seen a termite queen in a Zoo or even in the wild?

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How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

How Do Termites Successfully Escape From Predators?

Since termites are relatively small organisms, you would think that they would stand almost no chance of surviving an encounter with a predator. Surprisingly, a termite’s small size affords them many advantages during predatory attacks. For example, subterranean termites, as their name suggests, spend most of their time below the ground’s surface where predators cannot reach them. Despite this advantage, subterranean termites still need to beware of predators that also burrow within the soil. Other types of termites, most of which are non-soil dwellers, such as many drywood and dampwood termite species, dwell within pieces of dead or living timber.

Termites protect themselves by avoiding exposure to the outside world as much as possible. Termite-built nesting structures, tunnels and mud tubes keep termites hidden from their predators. However, termites are sometimes attacked within the wood and nests that they inhabit. When termites are a

ttacked within these shelters, researchers cannot possibly observe their escape strategies. Luckily, the black-winged termite species is in a unique position to shed more light on the methods of escape used by termites under attack.

The black-winged termite is native to southeast Asia, and they are known for building mud tubes along the length of trees from the crown to the routes. Given this termite’s exposure to predators during mud tube construction, researchers are able to observe how this termite escapes from predatory attacks.

Past studies that focused on termite escape behaviors could only be conducted within laboratories. These lab studies showed that termites escaped from predators immediately, but the recent field study showed termites indulging in a “wandering behavior” in response to an attack. Wandering behavior has been observed in other animals under similar hostile conditions. Socially inclined animals that move in herds may take time to develop a team strategy for escape, and this can look like wandering to observers. An individual termite may feel restrained from escaping alone from a predator if the colony is still in danger. In a termite’s case, the survival of the colony is more important than individual survival. This may explain why individual termites escape at lower speeds than termites escaping in groups. In this case, the slow-moving individual termite may be more focused on serving or regrouping with its colony rather than successfully escaping from a predator. Immediately after a predatory attack, termites may also wonder in order to survey the outside conditions before making a getaway. Finding safe places in the environment to hide is a necessity for termites that were born and raised within nests.

Have you ever seen a group of termites fleeing in response to a disturbance?

10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home

Gilbert Termite Control Experts

10 Tips To Prevent Termites From Damaging Your Home!

  1. Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home, which termites need to thrive.
  2. Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units.
  3. Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  4. Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  5. Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  6. Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), uneven or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  8. Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  9. Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
  10. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.