Serving Butte, Glenn, Tehama & Plumas Counties
in Northern California
|Termites: One really big happy family.|
Like people, termites are social creatures that look out for their own. Unlike most people, they really will eat you out of house and home.
Termites live with several hundred to several million family members, all of whom work together in an organized system to find and use cellulose food sources to grow the colony. This cooperation is called "swarm intelligence" and it helps explain why termites are so successful.
A typical colony includes these specialized members:
- Most termites are workers, with soft, light-colored bodies rarely more than 10 mm long, like grains of rice. They rarely leave the dark tunnels that run from the colony through the soil and into the wooden frames of buildings. Twenty-four hours a day, they forage for food, maintain the nest, and tend the queen and her brood. Juveniles, called nymphs, groom and feed one another and others in the colony.
- Soldiers have long heads with powerful jaws and are responsible for defense, primarily against invading ants.
- Reproductive male and female termites develop wings and leave the parent colony in a swarm to mate and start new colonies.
- The queen is the largest colony member, up to 10 cm long, about the size of the space bar on your computer. She's so big that if she needs to move, it requires several hundred workers pushing at once. She lays an egg every 15 seconds. If she dies, another reproductive takes her place.
- Termites keep themselves so well hidden that your best chance to see one is during a reproductive swarm. Problem is, swarming termites look a lot like swarming ants. Here's how to tell which insect you're looking at:
- Wings: On ants, the front pair is longer than the back and they don't break off easily. On termites, they're equal size and they do break off easily.
- Waists: Ants' are narrow and pinched. Termites' are thicker and less defined.
- Antennae: Ants' are elbowed. Termites' are straight.
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Stone Ridge Termite & Pest Control
P.O. Box 6927, Chico, CA 95927
Phone (530) 876-9271 Fax (530) 876-9273
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