Termites have four different types of stomachs that help them eat through cellulose materials. The first stomach is for breaking down the cellulose material, the second stomach helps extract the nutrients from the material, and the third and fourth stomachs help to digest and absorb the nutrients. This process is helped by their intestinal bacteria that break down the cellulose into a digestible form.
There are so many termites because they can thrive in a variety of different environments. They can live underground, in trees, and in wooden structures.
The most common type of termite in the United States is the subterranean termite. They live underground and build their nests near or below the soil surface. They can build their nests in a variety of places, including in the foundation of your home, in trees, and in wooden structures.
Structural damage from termites typically comes from foraging for food. Termites will tunnel through wood without any concern for cleanliness as they go on an excursion to find new sources of food or water - which means more damage is caused as they burrow deep into a structure's supportive beams and foundations to obtain sustenance. Termites can cause huge amounts of structural harm because they usually travel in mass colonies that have been undisturbed by humans or other animals. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage to homes and other buildings in the United States each year. That's a lot of money!
Termite swarms look pretty intimidating with their wings spread out, but if you have termites in your area, it is actually a positive thing because it means that there is an abundance of food and water nearby - making your home vulnerable to termites.
Each termite colony has a queen, king, and workers. The workers are responsible for building the nest, gathering food, and taking care of the young. The queen is responsible for laying eggs, and the king is responsible for fertilizing the eggs.
Each termite colony contains three major castes; workers, soldiers, and reproductives. The workers are responsible for gathering food, building nests, tending to the young, caring for the queen, and they are significantly smaller than the soldiers or reproductives. The soldiers are larger with enlarged heads that contain pincers used for defense. The reproductives are the largest of the three castes with wings so they can disperse to start new colonies.
Termites communicate by vibrating their bodies to send messages to other termites. They can use vibrations to communicate for a variety of purposes, such as when they swarm, when they find food, and when they need to warn other termites of danger.
Termite bodies are able to breathe through small chambers along their bodies called tracheae. This is what causes them to be known as "silent destroyers". They also have a porous exoskeleton and an open circulatory system which causes them to be susceptible to drowning when in contact with water for extended periods of time.
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