20 Things About Stuff - your

kids might not know

20 THINGS THEY SHOULD KNOW

ABOUT TERMITES

  1. Termites help keep our planet clean by eating/decomposing old, moldy, decaying, wet trees, wood, debris and other plant material.

  2. 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.

  3. Termites have been around for over 200 million years, making them one of the oldest insects.

  4. Termites provide an excellent food source for bugs, lizards, birds, anteaters and other small animals.

  5. In some countries, even people eat termites.

  6. Termites live in colonies that can consist of millions of termites.

  7. Termites are very organized, social insects that have very specific roles within their colonies and use pheromones to communicate with one another.

  8. Termites have Queens & Kings that reproduce and care for nymphs (babies), workers provide food, and soldiers protect the colony.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. While termites may look similar to ants, they’re actually more closely related to the cockroach.

  12. Termites build mounds or nests where the colony resides – usually made of digested wood, soil, mud, and feces.

  13. Termites nests can be extremely large and intricate, with the one of the largest found being 42 feet tall!

  14. A female queen termite can live for up to 25 years and have millions of offspring in her lifetime!

  15. 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 abandon the infested home.

  16. Termites make up greater mass on earth than do all 7 billion humans.

  17. Termites look out for each other. In a termite colony, each insect has their purpose. When termite soldiers notice signs of danger, they’ll tap their bodies against the sides of the colony so a warning vibration alerts the others. 

  18. In forests, termites quickly and efficiently break down plant fibers into new soil is a much needed part of the re-growth process.

  19. Termites don’t sleep. Much like vampires, they stay awake continuously and work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is not great news if their work involves chomping away at the inside of your home.

  20. Most termites are blind. As they live in dark nests for their entire lives, the majority of termites can’t see. The only termites that are able to see are the reproductive termites that have to fly out to find mates and start new colonies.