Tag Archives: Termites

Termites Have An Appetite For Life

It is a very depressing moment in a homeowner’s life when the pest control company issues the heart stopping diagnosis, “You Have Termites”!  What runs through the mind at that point is, where did they come from, how could this happen, why my house, how much is this going to cost me?  The answers to these questions are: they tunneled in or flew in, your house is aging and providing the resources necessary to feed them and maintain their species. And they’re going to cost you a lot.  money-1969794_960_720

Each year approximately 600,000 homes across the U.S. require treatment for the control of these insects and damage repair. Across our nation homeowners spend upwards of $5 billion annually. neighborhood-2

All areas of the U.S are ripe for subterranean termite habitation. Weather conditions, plus food and water sources determine whether their populations will be minimal or extremely heavy.  The coastal areas of the Southeast and Southwest have the added threat of drywood termites.

In a recent study, California has 3 cities on the Top 50 Termite Cities list.  Los Angeles ranking # 2, San Francisco #9 and San Diego coming in at #11.

In California’s forests, woodlands, and deserts termites commonly feed on dead and dying trees, tree stumps, grasses, bushes, or other pieces of dead or decaying wood. Termites can be highly beneficial as they break down woody debris, return nutrients to the soil, and provide an energy-rich food source to a multitude of predators. Fortunately, or unfortunately, these same areas have been plowed under or built over to make way for human habitation.

CorkysPestCartoons @cprkyspest.com/cartoons
CorkysPestCartoons @corkyspest.com/cartoons

Home building has risen by necessity and these wood laden structures have become the alternative food source of the termite.  Technically termites don’t know the difference between a tree and a million-dollar house.  What they know is, dinner is served!

Termite pests in California include subtertermite-house-2019-drywoodsranean, drywood, and dampwood species. Dampwood termites derive their name from the fact that they live in moist wood, especially in stumps and fallen trees in forests. Drywood termites are common and can survive in very dry conditions, even in dead wood in deserts and do not require much moisture or contact with soil.  termite-house-2019-subterraneanSubterranean termites are very abundant in most parts of California, even at elevations above 8,000 feet, and live and breed in soil, sometimes many feet below the ground.

Termites are 24/7 eaters and, as long as there is cellulose (a component of all wood and other plant-based materials) available they will literally eat you out of house and home.  But wait, researches are now looking into what else they might be willing to consume besides your home.  Check out this link to the NPMA (National Pest Management Association) website where scientists are finding out what else termites will eat.  Their new series is now ready for viewing and it’s called, Will They Eat It?   

If you are not interested in what they eat, and you just termite-damaged-homewant to get rid of the termites, contact a professional pest control company.  Corky’s Pest Control has solutions for all your pest needs especially termite extermination and termite damage repair.

Termites: From Wrecking Homes to Saving the Environment.

 

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year. They can eat wood and extract energy from it, thanks to a few thousand microbes living inside their gut.termite mound

This huge community of microscopic organisms works together to digest the cellulose and lignin that give plant cell walls their strength. As a biproduct of this process, Methane (a natural gas) is expelled by the termites.

So what does termite “gas”, have to do with producing clean energy for the world? A lot!

Each termite produces, on average, about half a microgram of methane per day, an insignificant amount you say. Not really. When multiplied up by the world population of termites, their global methane emission is estimated to be about 20 million tons each year.

Most methane is produced by decaying debris from natural sources such as wetlands, rivers and streams, gas hydramethane_sourcestes on the ocean floor, and melting permafrost. Termites are the second largest source of global methane emissions. Next comes the extraction and burning of fossil fuels for electricity and transportation. Then way down the list comes the cows.

All of the above sources use variations of the same process, the decay of organic material in anaerobic conditions (in the absence of oxygen). Symbioticgel micro-organisms in the digestive tracts of termites (flaU.S. Department of Energy Office of Sciencelate protozoa in lower termites and bacteria in higher termites) produce methane gas (CH4).

 U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science

How can coal be a food source for termites?  It’s not really.  Scientists have figured out a way to use the termites gut microbes to break down cellulose which is a big part of what makes up coal, converting the coal into methane gas, giving us a cleaner fuel source.

According to University of Delaware researchers, Termites may hold the key to processing coal — a big polluting member of our Earthly energy supply — into cleaner energy for the world, products for agriculture, water cleanup and waste recycling.

Mining coal and processing it, by traditional means, is a pollution nightmare.

Coal is a fossil fuel created from the remains of plants that lived and died about 100 to 400 million years ago. Basically, it’s wood that’s been coal-mining-jpegliterally baked for millions of years.

 

 

 

According to Pradad Dhurjati, a professor at the University of Delaware, in the Chemical and Bio-molecular department; “This groundbreaking biotechnology has the potential to change ‘dirty coal’ into ‘clean coal’. That would be a big win-win for the environment and for the economy.”  Right now, the process is taking place in large vats of termite gut microbes, but scientists are looking forward to introducing these microbes directly into coal seams deep beneath the Earth’s surface, letting these hungry organisms, mine and process the coal, in place, and then sending the natural gas, in a steady flow to the surface for consumption.

This is not the end all solution to the clean energy problem. It is the goal of scientists to perfect this process until new and more efficient renewable energy sources can be found and made economically feasible.

Check out this link to find out why methane (natural gas) is a cleaner burning fuel than coal.   https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/environmental-impacts-of-natural-gas#.XDeTLVxKiUk