Termites – 4 Myths vs. Facts

Let’s see if you know the answers to some common termite myths. None are crazy, and frankly, we can see how people would believe them. Let the debunking begin!

Myth: Termites are part of the ant family.

Fact: Nope – not even ants want to claim these pests. Termites are classified in the suborder or infraorder Isoptera or epifamily (depending on which book you read – if you were actually going to read a book on this) within the Blattodea order, which includes cockroaches. So they are actually closely related to cockroaches, not ants. It may be too much information, but this suborder has four North American families and seven total families worldwide. The four families of North America contain 44 known genera, and of total seven genera make up 2,300 species. Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and belong to the order Hymenoptera. So, they are closely related to wasps and bees – not termites.

Myth: Termites can eat through concrete.
Fact: Nope again. Termites might be strong, but they don’t have a jaw gym or anything! We can see how you might think so, though. The truth is termites can find their way through the tiniest of cracks in concrete or up a concrete foundation using mud tubes – their little termite homes. Once one termite gets through, more and more will follow. So, while it looks like they’re chewing through or eating the concrete, they are merely just systematically making the space with the optimal humidity for them and their friends. But they do eat wood. They actually digest the cellulose that naturally occurs in wood using microbes that exist in their gut. The paper lining the front of sheetrock is also comprised of cellulose, so it’s a nice little appetizer for termites. A termite amuse-bouche if you will. Good news, though. They won’t eat pressure treated wood and won’t chew through paint to get to the wood underneath it.

Myth: Termites will die off in a year or so.
Fact: Not even close!  A queen can live for over 25 years and can produce 2,000 eggs each day. That means a termite colony will constantly grow and live for decades if nothing is done. They also can produce new swarmers that will break off and form new colonies nearby. All of this is just added destruction without some form of termite control in place. So, “waiting it out” is not a viable option when it comes to termites.

Myth: DIY termite treatment is a good option.
Fact: BIG nope on this one. This is not a good idea. We’re not talking about stepping on an ant here. You really need a professional pest company to deal with termites. If you don’t have a pro come in, all you could be doing is putting your home at risk for more damage and more money to shell out for fixes. Termites cause more than $2 billion in damage each year. That’s more property damage than what’s caused by fire and windstorms combined. The thought that saving money on termite treatments by doing them yourself will most likely end up costing you more in the end. And you really need a trusted company to use in this instance. Even if you can get the right termiticides materials, improper placement and application can put your house at risk. Waltham Pest Services has been doing this for more than 125 years. Experience? They got it. 100% guarantee? They got that, too.

Termites. Now that you know the truth, are they any less interesting? Well, at least the stuff people thought they knew about termites was interesting. We hope you’re picturing a little termite gym with jaw workout machines and maybe some treadmills and we hope it makes you smile. That’s really the daily goal: smiling.

Author: Waltham Pest Services