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have lived on Earth for more than 250 million years. While termites can be helpful in breaking down rotting wood in the environment, these wood-destroying insects also can cause extensive damage to homes. Sometimes called “silent destroyers,” termites may leave few signs of activity as they steadily consume wood and sheetrock paper in the walls, ceilings and floors of homes.
Experts estimate that termites damage more than 600,000 homes in the United States annually. In fact, termites cause more damage to U.S. homes each tornadoes, hurricanes, wind and hail storms combined. Unlike weather-related damage, termite damage is not covered by homeowners insurance.
Each year, U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion to control termites and repair termite damage. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), control methods and repairs for damage caused by Formosan termites – the most destructive species of subterranean termite – account for more than $1 billion of this total.
interesting facts about termites:
-There are approximately 45 species of termites in the U.S. There are more than 2,300 species worldwide.
-Termites are social insects that live in colonies with caste systems, which means termites are organized into different social classes based on their roles and responsibilities.
-The termite caste system has three levels: reproductives, workers and soldiers.
-Worker and soldier termites are blind. Only termites that have become fully mature, reproductive termites develop eyes.
-Since termites live in dark places and many of them are blind, termites communicate through pheromones (chemical signals) and vibrations caused by head-banging.
-Termites build the largest nests of any insect.
-Termites cannot "eat" wood. Termites require the help of single-cell organisms in their guts to digest cellulose (wood).
-Ants are termites main predator. Ants can attack termite colonies or termite workers looking for food.
-In the U.S., subterranean termites cause more damage than drywood and dampwood termites. -Formosan termites, a species of subterranean termite, are responsible for the greatest amount of damage in the U.S.
-In Australia and Africa, very large and architecturally impressive termite mounds have become tourist attractions.
-Termites have lived on Earth for approximately 250 million years.
Text and pictures taken from Termites.com