Most of us know that termites‘ preferred food source is often the wood our homes are constructed of and that they cause billions of dollars in structural damage each year. But aside from being a costly nuisance, termites are actually interesting and beneficial insects – here’s why:

  1. Termites help keep our planet clean by eating/decomposing old, moldy, decaying, wet trees, wood, debris and other plant material. This process is vital to our eco-system and produces new soil which then grows new life – trees, plants, and provides food sources and homes to other animals and insects.
  2. Termites have been around for over 200 million years, making them one of the oldest insects, and live on almost every continent.
  3. Termites provide an excellent food source for bugs, lizards, birds, anteaters, other small animals, and even people in some parts of the world.
  4. Termites live in colonies that can consist of millions of termites. They’re organized, social insects that have very specific roles within their colonies and use pheromones to communicate with one another. Queens & kings reproduce and care for nymphs (babies), workers provide food, and soldiers protect the colony.
  5. Termites eat poop. Yes, it sounds gross but it’s actually totally necessary to prepare their digestive systems for eating wood and other plant material – a process called trophallaxis.
  6. Swarming termites – sometimes mistaken for flying ants – don’t actually cause structural damage. These winged termites (reproductive kings and queens) fly from the colony in search of mates to reproduce with.
  7. While termites may look similar to ants, they’re actually more closely related to cockroach species.
  8. Termites build mounds or nests where the colony resides – usually made of digested wood, soil, mud, and feces. Sometimes these nests are extremely large and intricate, with the one of the largest found being 42 feet tall!
  9. A female queen termite can live for up to 25 years and have millions of offspring in her lifetime!
  10. In some cultures, termites in a home represent a bad omen (death in the near future for the homeowner!). In this case, the only way it’s believed to escape death is to eliminate the termite colony or abandoning the infested home.

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