Termites Hide While Eating Homes and Businesses
Now: A Practical Termite Interceptor that makes them Visible
Subterranean termites constantly poke around in the soil for new sources of food. When they find one, they incorporate it into their food channel--that's the active pathway that connects all the food sources that the termite colony is currently exploiting. It is similar to the highway network that connects all our favorite dining spots. Like us, termites keep building new roads to new places of interest. Unlike our highways, their routes consist of tubes that are closed off from the rest of the world. Some researchers refer to the subterranean termite's system of underground tubes as a kind of pseudo-organism, their communal (or social) skin that the termite workers keep extremely clean and well-maintained.
Subterranean termites do not form simple colonies. As Dr. Edward O. Wilson points out, their aggregations are true superorganisms complete with outer coverings that enclose a combination of reproductive, incubation, and brood care facilities, and on to food acquisition and distribution systems, as well as their own defensive forces. Staying inside this "skin" is crucial, because termite workers conserve protein production, favoring soft bodies that don't retain moisture well, to increase the efficiency of food usage by the colony as a whole. A high-humidity environment is necessary to keep them alive. While subterranean termites rarely venture beyond the tubes that protect them, they often extend those tubes out of the soil, over the surfaces of exposed rocks or concrete, to explore for and reach food sources close by.
These "exploratory (search) tubes" or "shelter tubes" are used by termites to get into our wooden structures. Besides helping to maintain humidity levels, the tubes keep the termites that use them hidden from our view. Because they are made of dirt and other, similar stuff (including, in particular, recycled excrement), they are easy to miss. Fresh tubes tend to be dark in color and often contrast sharply with the coloration of cured concrete foundations, but older tubes have a hard, dry, light-colored exterior that blends with that of ordinary concrete. Inside our homes, the termites spend most of their time hidden inside our walls, where they excavate the cellulose from, and coincidentally destroy the wooden studs and other structural timbers that hold our wooden structures together. By managing to hide their activities from us for years, they often succeed in doing enormous damage before a chance occurrence brings their presence to light.
Individual termites don't loiter in a single place. They move from one food source to another, in a long, round-robin process that keeps the entire superorganism well-fed. It's an efficient procedure, for the termites, but one that can be highly destructive to our landscaping, our homes, and our businesses.
The EntomoBiotic Termite Interceptor, Annunciator, & Inoculator (TIAI), when placed in the soil around homes and businesses, takes advantage of termite behavior by becoming incorporated into the termite colony's food chain. Soon after termites begin to eat its contents, the termite interceptor signals that they are there, by changing its outward appearance in a special way. When an inspector glances at the interceptor while passing by, that change is obvious. Now the process of inoculating their colony with termite control agents can begin.
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