Termites are considered as pests, especially in rural areas. They can easily destroy wood based structures from within in a span of weeks. Although they look like ants, most people tend to classify these pests in the same perspective as cockroaches. Termites usually live in a colony, and their nest is called a mound. Currently there are more than 2000 known species of termites all across the globe, with most species thriving in tropic and subtropic areas.
A termite mound is comprised of different materials. Termites use combinations of soil, digested wood, saliva, feces, mud and other similar materials. A typical termite colony can build a mound that can range from half a meter up to a meter in size. The largest mound recorded in history reached the size of 40 plus feet. This size is similar to a house with two to three floors. A termite colony able to build such a vast mound is estimated to be comprised of hundreds of thousands up to a million termites or maybe even more.
Research show that termites have a similar colony structure like ants. Termites are classified as worker termites, soldier termites, reproductive male termites and reproductive female termites. It has been found out that the worker termites and soldier termites cannot see, due to being always in the dark. The worker termites are responsible for the building and expansion of the mound. The soldier termites are responsible for safeguarding the mound and protecting it from attacks of other insects or pest.
Male reproductive termites are classified as King termites while female reproductive termites are classified as Queen termites. The Queen termite can lay 3 to 4 eggs in a minute, given the optimal circumstances. If the Queen termite will reproduce non-stop, it can lay between 25,000 up to 30,000 eggs within 24 hours. If a termite colony has two to three queens, thats 75,000 up to 90,000 eggs daily. Scientists claim that if these termites can live in cold and polar regions then the whole world would have been occupied by them within a couple of decades.
There are numerous natural predators of termites. Some of these include anteaters, pangolin and even large bugs. There are also species of birds that prey on these termites. Thus, even though termites have high reproductive capabilities, the number of their natural predators are also high. Even though termites are generally considered as pests, this is only true if they live near humans. In a normal ecological structure, these termites decompose a vast number of decaying plants and plant material. Decomposing such not only helps the termite colony but also the local ecology that they live in.
Termites thrive in countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. This is due to the tropical climate in these countries. This is also true in some parts of Mexico and Brazil. Termites have minimal population on the North Pole and Antarctica though, due to the low temperatures there which make it hard for them to thrive and survive.
To learn about how to prevent these critters from feeding on your property, click here