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Since you live in the city of Chicago, you’ve likely heard of termites and the damage that they do each year. Unfortunately, this critter is one of the most destructive pests in the area with the propensity to do millions of dollars in damage each year. If you want to learn to detect and eliminate termites, you’ll need to know the pertinent facts. Below, you’ll learn a great deal more about termites.
- The first thing you need to know about termites is that they are social creatures. This means where there is one there will be hundreds. Even if you spot one or two on your property, never write it off. Hundreds are likely lurking nearby somewhere.
- Termites are known for destroying wood, but it is the cellulose they are after.
- Cellulose is also found in a handful of other products, including cardboard, paper, cotton fibers, and furniture.
- When you see termite mounds, it means the original colony has gotten too large. Members of the colony are trying to move into new colonies.
- It is the subterranean termite that is responsible for most of the damage in the United States. They do about 95 percent of the reported $2 billion yearly.
Breaking Down The Pecking Order
Just like in life, the termite lives by a pecking order. Some members are above others and some members work to serve others. Above all else, these creatures are known for their teamwork. They work together towards one common goal, which is the development and betterment of the colony. Understanding the pecking order and how it works can better help you with the detection and elimination of these creatures. Here’s what you need to know:
The Queen Termite
- The queen is considered one of the primary reproductive members of the colony since as she will reproduce until there are enough workers and nymphs to care for the colony
- She is always female and can live for 10 years
- During these 10 years, the queen will lay as many as 30,000 eggs. (IN A SINGLE DAY!)
- She is the largest member of the colony, by far, measuring in at 4 inches long
The King Termite
- As you can likely already imagined, the king’s responsibility is serving the queen.
- He will help grow the numbers of the colony. The only difference here is that he will continue the process throughout the entirety of his life while the queen will stop when there are enough members to continue the process.
- The king is also considered a primary reproductive member
The Worker Termite
- If there ever was a workhorse of the colony, it would be worker termites
- When the queen needs moved or relocated, it will the responsibility of the worker termites
- It will likely take hundreds of them to move her, but they’ll get the job done
- In addition to this, they are constantly working 24/7. They serve many tasks, including maintaining and building tunnels, caring for other members, feeding other members, caring for the eggs, and grooming their counterparts
- They are soft-bodied, light in color, and do not go wings
- All in all, they are about 10 millimeters in length
The Soldier Termite
- It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the soldier termite’s responsibility is defense. He defends the termite colony against all opposing threats
- Those threats usually consist of the ant, which can easily and quickly overpower the termite
- Soldiers have long heads equipped with extremely powerful jaws or mandibles that they can use as weapons
- They are white, soft-bodied, and wingless
Winged Reproductive Termites
- Winged reproductive members can consist of both male and female members
- It is these termites that develop wings so they can fly off and start additional, separate colonies
- While a termite colony will only consist of 1 king and 1 queen, there will be hundreds of winged reproductive members
Distinguishing Between The Flying Ant And The Flying Termite
In Chicago, residents not only have to worry about the flying termite, but they also have to worry about the flying ant. There is no denying that the termite is by far more destructive, but the ant can bring its own set of unique problems to the table. It will be imperative to learn to distinguish between the two to develop a plan for proper elimination and detection. Here’s what you need to know to distinguish between the two creatures:
- Both have front and back wings. (A total of 4 wings per creature)
- The front wings on the ant are longer than the back wings, whereas both the front and back are equal in size for the termite
- The termite’s wings can easily be broken off or injured, while the ant’s wings are much more durable and resilient
- The flying ant has a waist that is much more defined and narrowed or pinched. The termite has a thick waist that is less defined
- Both grow antennas, but it is the ant’s antenna that is bent at 90 degrees. The termites are straight
Are Termites Dangerous?
Termites don’t pose a physical direct threat. This is not to say they aren’t dangerous because they are, and you will learn more about that later. What you need to know now is, they don’t bite, they don’t sting, and it has never been reported that they’ve transmitted diseases. In some ways, they are harmless. However, you have to remember that they can weaken structures to the point of collapse. When you walk in, your weight will cause the structure to collapse in on you. It would likely take years and years of damage, but it can happen.
How Do I Get Rid Of Termites?
As a professional Chicago exterminator, we cannot in good faith recommend any homeowner taking on a termite infestation. Unfortunately, the risks are too high. Termites, as fragile as they might be, can be extremely difficult to eliminate. Most of this has to do with the fact that they build nests and colonies 300 feet away from the home. They have hundreds of tunnels leading in and out of this colony. It takes missing one termite or one tunnel for the creature to go on to fight another day.
You must shut down every pathway and kill every creature in the process. If you do not do this, the creature will move elsewhere only to return later and continue damaging your home. It is always recommended to get a professional involved. Complete and total elimination usually requires tricking the creatures into tracking poison back to the main colony, where they will poison other members. While this might sound simple, it can be a complex process.
Not to mention that such chemicals and pesticides are dangerous. In the wrong hands, they can be lethal. It’s just easier, safer, and more effective to get a good Chicago pest management firm involved at the first sign of a termite infestation. You’ll end up saving yourself a whole lot of trouble and headaches. We are here! All you must do is pick up the phone and call.
How Soon Can You Get Here?
We understand that termites are an issue that needs addressing immediately. That’s what we are willing to do. We can get back to you within 24 to 48 hours so call today.