What to Know about Termites

What to know about termites

Termites are a menace to homes and businesses because they eat the wood that keeps a structure safe and secure. They form large colonies and can burrow into supports, weakening houses and costing millions worth of damage each year. Myanmar faces most of its pest threats from two distinctive types of termites: subterranean and dampwood. 

Termite Biology

Termites are one of the few living organisms in the world which feed on wood and the cellulose inside of it. They are insects with three body parts, which include the head, thorax, and abdomen. Termites are small, usually only measuring between 4 and 15 mm. They are divided between workers, soldiers, and the swarmers who reproduce and create new colonies. Most workers and soldiers are blind since they don’t have eyes. 

Termites are usually wingless, except for the swarmers who need to fly away. Most of them do not reproduce and instead build and defend the colony while the queen creates young. 

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are the most common type in Myanmar. They are one of the only species of termites that lives in or near the ground. They like damp, warm areas and frequently build series of mud tubes or tunnels which they use to travel between areas while staying safe from predators. These termites thrive in tropical environments since they need the constant moisture. 

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites were named because they live in moist environments and prefer wood which is near water sources. They tend to live in places like basements or attics with leaks. They also build mud tubes and can be difficult to identify because they are smaller than other termite types. 

Why Are Termites Dangerous? 

Termites are dangerous because they weaken the overall structure of a building. They carve out homes for their colonies inside wood, which is one of the main materials used to keep homes and businesses safe and sound. Their damages cost people millions of dollars’ worth of damages each year. A truly bad infestation can even make an area uninhabitable, which means the humans who own it could be out of a place to live and any money they invested in the structure. 

Signs of an Infestation

Most people will not realize they have a termite infestation until there is already severe damage. Some of the most common signs are: 

  • The presence of mud or shelter tubes, which termites build as protection from the environment while transporting food.
  • Tunnels discovered in boards or other wooden parts of a building. 
  • Hollow sounds when striking affected wood. 
  • Seeing an actual termite. 
  • Earth packing around affected wood. 

How to Get Rid of Termites

The easiest way to eliminate an existing termite colony is with poisoned baits. These baits are usually made from wood pulp and similar materials. The workers who look for food will bring it back to their colony, where it will be shared with the others. This way, the poison is spread to every member of the colony and the termites gradually die out. 

Some pesticides are also used, but they aren’t as common. To prevent termites, a lot of pest control companies will apply a termiticide barrier around the property. This is a pesticide which can deter or kill potential termite invaders before they become a problem.

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