5 Unusual Facts About Termites

by Claude Walters

Termites can do significant structural damage to homes and businesses, but that doesn't negate the fact that they're extremely intriguing insects. Termites also play an important role in the planetary ecosystems because they aid in the decomposition process of dead and dying trees. Following are five interesting facts about termites that most people are unaware of:

Termites Groom Each Other

Good grooming helps termites decrease populations of harmful parasites and bacteria. Just like primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas, termites groom one another as a matter of routine. As social insects that live in large colonies, it's important for their survival that they remain as clean as possible because a bacterial outbreak or major influx of parasites could completely destroy their communities.

Termites Can Fly!

Often considered to be wingless insects, many young termites of both sexes are actually equipped with wings. These particular termites are destined to be kings and queens of new colonies, and they fly away shortly after they are hatched to establish themselves in new territories. After they find their new homes, they tear off their own wings!

Worker Termites Are Blind

Unlike their reproductive counterparts that were born to be kings and queens of new termite colonies, worker termites are born blind and remain that way throughout their lifetimes. Because they spend their lives in dark, damp working conditions, they have no use for functional eyes.

Termite Dads Rock!

Unlike many other insect and animals species, male termites play an active role in raising their young. Reproductive male termites help their queens feed their offspring meals of regurgitated food. Unlike bees, they male termites stick around for life rather than dying shortly after mating. 

Termites Are Excellent Team Players

When worker termites discern a threat to the colony, they bang their heads against the walls of their tunnels to send warnings via vibrations to others in their group. Termites also communicate through pheromones, leaving trails for each other using glands on their chests. What is even more fascinating is that individual termite colonies are capable of producing their own unique tribal scent. Queens frequently regulate the growth of their own young by feeding them their own excrement.

It should come as no surprise to homeowners that these resilient, adaptable insects are highly capable of wreaking great havoc on wood-based structures. If you suspect that termites may be an issue in your immediate environment, you should contact termite control services at your earliest convenience.