Termites create a very real threat for homeowners and a very prevalent threat, as these annoying pests have established colonies in temperate zones all over the world. More than 2,000 species of the creatures have been identified, with seven of those species calling the United States home. Of the three types most widely found throughout the nation, subterranean termites are the sort that most often make themselves at home in your home. These subterranean pests are not only the most prevalent type found in the US, they also account for most of the damage done to properties by termites. If you think you have a termite infestation in your home, your first instinct may be to reach for the nearest pest repeller. But, before you use a sonic pest repeller; it is good to have a firm idea of just what these creatures are up to when they establish a colony on your property.
A new colony is established by newly hatched alates. These winged members of the termite clan are capable of reproduction, but they are not able to fly very well. Typically, the alates only fly when the weather is sunny and humid, perhaps just after a springtime shower. Not very many of these reproductive termites will survive the flight they make as they attempt to establish a new colony. But that does not mean those who do survive would not quickly begin reproducing quite the contrary.
In order to begin a colony, these termites must locate a food source, a place to burrow and build their nest and a queen to mate with. Many of these flying termites will become bird food or prey to ants and other insects, so the pressure is on to create a colony before all of these winged termites are killed off. Once the colony is established, however, it can thrive for quite some time.
A termite queen may reign over a colony for 30 years. A queen is literally trapped in her chamber; after she begins laying eggs her abdomen distends and she becomes too large to leave through the tunnel in which she arrived. She will live her long life (in insect standards, anyway) groomed and fed by her termite attendants. The semi-permanence of a termite colony, they will move on if their food source has been totally consumed, means that as a homeowner, you do not want to share your dwelling with termites because soon there may not be much of a home left to share.
Workers are the termites you are most likely to spot around your home. They forage for food for the rest of the colony, in addition to feeding the queen, their young and the soldiers which guard their nest. The workers consume the cellulose found in dead wood, but they do not stop at wood; termites will consume any substance containing cellulose, and they will wander far from the nest to obtain it. Termite soldiers protect the nest from invading insets, such as ants. They are hardly effective at fighting. Instead, they end up serving as a decoy for the ants to carry off and feed upon, leaving the termite nest thriving, unharmed.