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10 facts you did not know about termites

Termite infestation in Singapore happens very often and in fact, most homes are at risk of a termite attack. This is due to the nature and structural component of the home, together with the humid and moist condition in Singapore. Termites are also not common to home pests that we encounter daily to have a good understanding of their habitats. In this article, Rentokil Singapore shares the essential facts we are not aware of the termites, and clarifies termite remedies that do not work.

Part 1: Ten facts we did not know about termites

  • Termites can communicate using pheromones
  • Some species of termites can fly
  • They are usually blind and live in the dark
  • Termites are related to cockroaches
  • A colony can comprise as much as 1 million population
  • There are sounds produced by termites we are unaware
  • Considered most diligent pests by working 24/7 daily
  • Termites have incredible wood eating capabilities
  • Up to 30,000 eggs can be reproduced in a day
  • Termites and ants are enemies though with similarities

Part 2: Five termite treatments that do not work

  • Using insecticide sprays or pest repellent to eliminate termites
  • Utilising natural DIY remedies such as orange oil
  • Ensure home has ventilation and sun exposure
  • Treating the infected areas with contact-kill method
  • Depending on pre-construction termite treatment

Part 3: Protect your home with termite control solutions

  • Understanding the different termite species
  • Conduct a thorough termite home inspection
  • Consider various termite treatment options
  • Equip with useful termite prevention tips
Debugged Blog 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Termites Interesting Facts About Termites

Part 1: Ten facts we did not know about termites

Termites can communicate using pheromones

With thousands and millions of members in a termite colony, communication is a vital role to keep them going. They use a “scent messaging” system called pheromones to send a signal to one another. They leave a scent trail to lead their members to locate their food supplies along the path. During the process of food sourcing, they secret the pheromone to make the location for tracing. Termites also used pheromones to signal for danger. They will bang their heads against the wall to create a sound vibration and emit the pheromones to warn of a colony threat.

Some species of termites can fly

We have seen many flying insects around such as midges, houseflies and mosquitoes. However, you may not notice that they could be flying termites happening in your home. The danger of wrong pest identification is the application of incorrect pest control treatments. One of the termite members, known as Swarmers can fly. This occurs when they leave the current colony to start building colonies elsewhere. Typically happens during warmer and humid climate, one way to identify them is to look for presence of discard wings around window sills.

They are usually blind and live in the dark

The workers and soldiers are blind while the queen, king and reproductive have weak vision capabilities. However, they rely on senses and chemical signalling to communicate and navigate around. Firstly, they replace vision with vibrations to detect predators in times of danger. Secondly, termites have moisture-sensing receptors to source for food such as moisture and decaying wood. Finally, they can sense the chemical trail left by the workers to locate a food source.

Termites are related to cockroaches

Termites are often mistaken for ants in terms of their outlook, size and food preference. For example, carpenter ants build nests within wood and create galleries as they chew their way out. This process is then confused with their need to feed on wood. Instead, they actually feed on protein and sweet liquids. It is said that termites, a high sociality pest is classified within Blattodea group, which is an order of insects comprising cockroaches and termites. There is also a phylogenetic study that termite evolved from cockroaches.

A colony can comprise as much as 1 million population

The severity of a pest infestation is dependent on its reproductive strength, frequency, and size of the population. In the case of a termite colony, there can be as much as up to 1 million termites living in the soil, beneath your home. In fact, the queen lays many eggs, and on average, she can lay up to 30,000 eggs within a day. They have a long life span and can live within 25 to 50 years. Putting some numbers into perspective, she is capable of producing over 165 million eggs in her lifetime. Hence, it is important to treat a termite infestation early, before it turns into a detrimental outcome for the home.

There are sounds produced by termites we are unaware

One way to detect signs of termite infestation is to observe for sounds coming from termites. Term as “head-banging”, termites will bang their heads against the tunnel walls when they are threatened with danger. Some will describe it as a clicking or rattling sound, which comes from the workers by using their mouth to alert as they move through the paths. If your home has an infested wood, it means it is hollow within and generates a hollow and distinctive sound when tapped. This has been a conventional way of conducting a termite inspection. However, it may be less accurate and complete. Find out more on the microwave detection technology from Rentokil Pest Control that detects termite’s activities in your home.

Considered most diligent pests by working 24/7 daily

Some pests are nocturnal that only come out at night to work for food, however for termites they work 24/7 every day. Termites do not sleep, and literally eat of your wood, building more colonies and constantly damaging your home. Firstly, what is keeping them busy is the constant search for food to feed the colony. Secondly, they have to build and repair their nest and maintain mud tubes. Finally, there are also the soldiers that stay up all night to protect the colony and stay vigilant from enemies. In summary, it is important to ensure you maintain ongoing and long-term termite protection to prevent home damages caused by termites

Read Also: Which are the pests that surface at night for food

Termites have incredible eating capabilities

Unlike other pests that feed on softer substances such as fruits, food scraps, juices or grease, termites feed on wood and cellulose materials. Termites have strong jaws and sharp teeth that are capable of biting and chewing off wood easily. In addition, certain termite species also feed on dead plants, infested wood, trees, and even paper and plastic. Imagine a minuscule pest of the termites, could eventually eat away your home if you leave them untreated.

Up to 30,000 eggs are reproduced in a day

The queen of the termite lays eggs every day and is able to reproduce up to 30,000 eggs a day. This also means growing the termite colony in volumes daily, and hence explains how a termite infestation can turn serious in homes. However, once the queen dies, the reproduction will end. The lifespan of a queen ranges between 25 to 50 years, which is equivalent to an average time we live in our homes. In conclusion, a termite treatment of 5 to 7 years warranty is best to continue the treatment to ensure lasting home protection.

Termites and ants are enemies though with similarities

There is a common myth that with the presence of ants, there will be no termites and vice versa. Firstly, ants do feed on termites for their protein. They do so by breaking down the termites to consume further. Secondly, they are competitors in a way due to their similar habitats within trees, logs and wood. Thirdly, termite soldiers work every hour to defend their colony against ants’ invasion. Fourthly, termites can hide within the mud tubes they build which ants find it hard to enter. Above all, it is still possible to experience both termite and ant infestation at the same time in your home. Read more to find out why and how to get rid of ants.


Debugged Blog 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Termites Five Termite Treatments That Do Not Work

Part 2: Five termite treatments that do not work

Using insecticide sprays or repellent to eliminate termites

The most popular go-to pest treatments would be purchasing off the shelves insecticide sprays and repellents. Quickest and easiest action is to spray directly on visible infestation signs or damages. This includes droppings (or frass) on the surface, on infected structures or furniture or around the wall (against mud tubes). However, this is not only harmful by spraying toxics around the home, and not addressing the actual termite colony. They may not contain relevant and sufficient doses of active ingredients to put out the problem. In worse cases, it can aggravate the condition by introducing moisture when there is over spraying.

Utilising natural DIY remedies such as orange oil

DIY home remedies have been popular among many, particularly using natural ingredients. For example, the use of vinegar, spices, clove & garlic oil, lavender, peppermint and even baking soda and common pest myths methods.

For termites, it is said that orange oil can eliminate termite infestation. Orange oil contains an active ingredient called d-limonene that has the capability to destroy pests. It works by reducing moisture and protein in them causing them to die eventually. Compared to professional termite control solutions, the active ingredients do not have sufficient efficacy in controlling a termite colony. In addition, it does not have a lasting residual effect and is hazardous due to its flammable nature.

You may also like: Debugging common pest myths in Singapore

Ensure home has ventilation and sun exposure

Sun exposure is one good way to ventilate the home and some pests dislike the sunlight and heat. Termites in particular are sensitive to sunlight, as they spend their time living in the soil. While exposing infested areas or furniture to sunlight and heat can eliminate some termites, however, there are limitations in controlling the infestation and colony as a whole. Firstly, not all furniture are able to be placed under direct sunlight for hours to get rid of termites. Secondly, subterranean termites are not exposed to sunlight as they live in the soil or within structure. Finally, we are unable to eradicate the entire colony thoroughly if without proper termite treatments applied.

Treating the infected areas with contact-kill method

There are spot treatments available that are typically quick and affordable. What it does is, injecting active ingredients into locations or spots that have an infestation or activity. The challenge is, there could be more infested locations that are not detected and treated, thus leaving infestation to worsen. In addition, it is only resolving the localised and visible problem, rather than eliminating the root source – the colony. Above all, there is a risk of recurring and spread of infestation as termites multiply and grow.

Depending on pre-construction termite treatment

Most homes particularly, high-rise residential apartments undergo mandatory pre-construction termite treatment. It forms a protective layer or barrier between the soil and the building foundation. However, this has limited efficacy control and requires a re-application after 5 to 10 years into property use. In addition, the termite queen can live around 25 years, and thus, long term and continuous termite treatment are necessary to cover their entire life span.

Debugged Blog 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Termites Protect Your Home With Termite Control

Part 3: Protect your home with termite control solutions

Understanding the different termite species

Do you know termite there are at least three types of termite species that are potentially present at your home? These termites have different habitats and can occur at various parts of your premise. For example, the subterranean termite lives underground in the soil and makes its way into your home as the colony expands. Activities can happen on the flooring, structures, walls and even the roof. Species like the drywood termite infest door frames and panels, furniture and carpentry such as kitchen cabinets. However, there are outdoor driven termites like the dampwood termite found among tree branches, decay wood, logs and lumber. In summary, your home is a food feast for these termites. Here is a quick tip to differentiate between termites and ants.

Conduct a thorough termite home inspection

Detection is the first and critical step to identify any termite problem early. Like the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, taking early rectification can minimise any detrimental impact caused by termites. Firstly, infested size may be small and do not need extensive treatments covering a large area. Secondly, there may not be a need to renovate the home or replace damaged door frames and panels that is costly. Thirdly, weakened structures and beams can be avoided, as it is dangerous to the family’s safety. Fourthly, you can maintain an aesthetically nice home without ugly mud tubes grown on the wall. Finally, it prevents putting your family at health risks with allergies such as asthma. Above all, it puts everyone at ease in living in a safe and termite-free home.

Read Also: Average cost of renovating or replacing termite-damaged furnishing

Consider various termite treatment options

There are many pest control companies in Singapore that provide termite control fortunately. Different termite treatments are recommended depending on the termite species, severity of the infestation and home dwelling. However, the cheapest pest control option may not be the best solution to treat termites in exchange for cost savings. This is because the long-term damages that termites cause could cost more than the actual pest control price. Rentokil Initial shares the various termite treatments options available.

Drywood termite foaming solution

Targeting at drywood termite species, it involves a 5-step process during the treatment. Firstly, a professional site inspection is conducted to identify signs of termite activity and infested areas to treat. Secondly, specialists will vacuum frass found in order to carry out the treatment efficiently. Thirdly, they will drill and inject small holes opening to pump termiticide foaming in. A generator is used to foam the active ingredient and use pressure to treat a wide range of the affected area.

Subterranean termite protection programme

Subterranean termite infestation is treated using a similar termiticide, however the application and treatment process is different. It involves drilling holes at regular intervals surrounding the entire perimeter of the home. Active ingredients of specific doses are then injected into every hole. The specialist then patch the holes and package includes annual inspection of the premise for any termite activities. Book for your seven years warranty termite programme that is safe and eco-friendly.

Termite colony elimination

This method utilises a baiting system that is non-toxic to seek, bait and eliminate termite infestation. Monitoring units are first placed to detect and monitor locations of termite feeding. It includes cellulose and wood pieces that attract termite most. Baiting stations are then placed strategically at identified key risk areas either aboveground or in-ground. It works by luring termites to feed on the bait and share these “food” back to the colony. These “food” which are the active ingredients are then passed on to the colony, thus eliminating them as a result.

Equip with useful termite prevention tips

It is important to ensure constant and proactive prevention efforts to protect the home from additional termite problems. As termites travel left to right and down to up, your home might be at risk of getting termite infestation from your neighbours at any time. Here are some preventive tips you can apply for your home:

  • Making sure the home is free from water spills and moistures that attracts termites
  • Fix any defective piping and plumbing systems that cause water leaks
  • Apply proofing to avoid standing pools of water accumulate after a rainfall
  • Ventilate and ensure good airflow to avoid humidity, damp surfaces and moisture
  • Remove mulch build-up to reduce moisture stored in the soil. Examples include grass clippings and shredded leaves.
  • Do a housekeeping to eliminate food source for termites such as unwanted wood, plants, paper, cardboard that is cellulose in nature
  • Apply proofing on crawlspace to avoid moisture collection and prevent wetting any wood
  • Avoid using wooden furniture and cellulose materials around the home
  • Seal cracks and crevices to prevent termite entries to your home

Call Rentokil Termite Specialists at  (65) 6347 8138 for pest control services today.

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