Well, finally, a Prose piece, not Disguised as a Poem! "The Truth Shall Set You Free!"
The following little 'Expose' was prompted by Pat's comments on another piece just recently.
CAUTION: I am by no means an 'EXPURT' ... so, do your own research. this is all from Memory, from 37 years ago! More Modern Info and Techniques are probably available.
A Termite Infestation is Nothing to 'PLAY WITH!' Enuf Said ...
ANTS & TERMITES
© - Tom Hyland - 5/20/12
PAT ... Es Verdad!
Both species have 'Soldiers' with big pincers, which guard the colonies. But, it is mostly the ants which are predators, and the termites with soft bodies, are the prey.
When ants invade, and a hole is broken through a 'tunnel' or wall, a soldier will stick his head into that hole, and fight until he dies, using his body to plug the hole. The ants take the 'prisoners' they capture back to their colony, and actually 'milk' the termites, like cattle.
Back in the Mid-Seventies, it was believed by entomologists, that both species communicated somehow by transmitting Chemicals from one body to another. Pheromones maybe? I don’t remember.
I saw films in training at Orkin, which were amazing! One showed a 50 foot metal flagpole, with a large wooden ball at the top, which was gilded in gold. When discovered, the termites had gone 50 ft. up, inside the hollow pole, eaten the entire wood (they eat cellulose - dead wood only) - and only the metal gild paint was left!
A termite can squeeze its soft body through a narrow 1/16th crack in a house’s foundation wall, and gain access to the wood, usually starting at the top sill plates, resting on the foundation walls. They can not be subjected to Sun-Light, because of their soft moist bodies, so they build ‘Mud Tunnels’ from the soil, up the outer foundation walls. Thus, they are protected both from the Sun’s rays, as well as from Discovery. Covert Critters also!
It is a good idea to examine both the inner and outer walls of your foundation, looking for these ‘mud tunnels’ and Destroy them! Oft’times, though, they will Sneak up under the Front and Rear entrance Steps, or Porches, totally hidden from sight. One should also Inspect these entry points every year also. Using a pointed Screw-Driver, simply Poke the wood every inch or so, looking for damage. If soft, and the tool easily pierces the wood, usually exposing ‘mud’ inside, you have termites Dude! Call an Exterminator ... PRONTO!
Every Spring, both Species ‘Swarm’. Winged Ants and Winged Termites can come out by the Thousands. After their wings dry out, they fly to a close area, shed their wings, and start ‘Courting.’ When you see two of them, coupled together, that couple is a prospective ‘Queen’ and ‘King’ who will start a New Colony!
Termites must return to some source of water every 24 hours, or they die. Thus, when they find a sweaty metal pipe inside a home, or a leaky drainpipe, they travel is shortened, and they can eat more, and faster! Devastation in homes is very costly, Millions of Dollars every year!
One Colony can contain upwards of 100,000 termites, and there are usually Thousands of Colonies in each Acre of land. When a new Development of Housing is started, the Bull-dozers, et cetera, moving the earth, disturbs them, and thus they seek new sources of Dead Wood ... in the New Homes!
Crafty Critters Indeed! Peace, Cuz.