Every year many people go in and decide to remodel their homes. A large part of the remodeling process is demolition. This is where you have to go in and take out old and outdated parts in your home. This could include walls, toilets and sinks, cupboards and cabinets or any other sort of things you’ll find in your home. It’s many times during the demolition process, that unfortunate discoveries can be made. One of the biggest unfortunate discoveries is when your demolition guy finds that you have termites. Termites can do great damage to your home and cost you a lot of money. Let’s look at this issue and how termites can be avoided. 


Termites are often confused with ants. They are small insects that look much like an ant. One of the telltale signs and differences between ants and termites are the waists. An ant has three particular body parts. It has a head, a thorax and an abdomen. The head is where the eyes and mouth are located, the thorax is where the legs come out of and lastly the abdomen is a large section at the end that contains most of the vital organs. On an ant, The body sections narrow down to a very small waist between each section. But on a termite, this is not so. Termites have a body with the same width all the way across its length. This is a telltale sign that you were dealing with termites and not ants. 

Often when you see the insects, they are the reproductives. The reproductives are male and female termites that have come out of the colony in order to produce a new colony. Termites are very fragile insects. They must stay in damp air at all times. The air underground is much damper the what is above the surface, and therefore they stay predominately underground. These reproductives, or alates, as they are known, are much more hearty. They’re also the only termites in the entire county that have wings. Ants also have winged reproductives. 


At the end of spring, beginning of summer these reproductives will swarm. They will come out of special mud tubes known as swarm tubes that are open to the open air. They will come out of these tubes and fly, looking for a swarm of flying termites. The swarm is made up of reproductives from other colonies in the area. Then male and female termites in the swarm will pair up with each other to mate mid flight. Once they do, they will land and find an adequate spot to create a new colony. 

They will dig down to the ground and build a chamber. This chamber is known as the royal chamber. Here the female will begin to lay eggs. The male will tend to the female and work as a worker for the time being. He will tend to the eggs, forage for food and build tunnels in the colony. Eventually these eggs will hatch in the lava will be tended to by the king as well. Once these larva grow to adulthood they will become the new workers. At this point, the king will die off. He has served his purpose. The queen will continue to lay eggs and propagate the colony. 


Queens can live anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Colonies are structured into a caste system. This system is built upon worker termites. These workers are tasked with every menial job that is required by the colony. This includes foraging for food, building the colony, building mud tubes, feeding the larva and soldiers, and anything else including taking out the trash. After the workers, we have soldier termites. These termites are larger than the others, and have very large heads with large jaws on them. These insects will lie dormant until the action begins. Once a colony is attacked, these behemoths spark into life. They will head straight into the battle, and attack the onslaught of attacking insects. 

Often the predators that are after the colony are ants. These ants seek to eat the termites and their larvae. The soldier termites will engage these ants and fight them to the death. In most cases, ants will attack in huge numbers. These numbers are almost always  too many for the soldier and will overcome him. But, because of their large heads, they block off the entire tunnel. This gives the worker ants the opportunity to seal off the mud tube behind the soldier. The soldiers valiantly give their lives for the sake of the colony. 


Workers will build tubes up different structures, buildings and trees in order to find wood that they can feed upon. Termites have a special enzyme in their digestive system that gives them the ability to break down the cellulose found in wood. As they break down this cellulose, workers will pass on this food to soldiers, reproductive and larva. As the larva grow, they must molt. When they do mold they lose a portion of their hind gut. Because of this, they lose a large amount of the enzyme is required to break down cellulose. To combat this, termites engage in the activity notice trophallaxis. This is where workers will drop excrement, and the lava will eat it. This replenishes their gut biome and the enzymes that are needed to break down cellulose.


If you’re having an issue with termites or any other pest, TermMax Pest Control is the best Broken Arrow pest control company in town. We have trained technicians they can handle any termite issue that you might run into. We service the greater Tulsa area including Bixby, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Prattville, Coweta, Claremore, Catoosa, Turley, Owasso and much more. Call today for a free estimate. We’re here to help!

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