In order to eliminate an infestation, the nest of the wood termites must be identified. In fact, this type of termite, unlike underground termites, nests in the wood it feeds on.
Termites are insects that feed on cellulose: a substance contained in wood and paper. They are “social insects”. This means that they form “colonies” characterized by the differentiation of members into “castes”. That is, different types of individuals that differ in appearance (morphology) and functions they play in the colony.
We will therefore have a reproductive caste (the royals), a worker caste, and a soldier caste.
- The reproductive caste consists of a king and a queen. They are the members of the colony, male and female, who constantly reproduce and generate new individuals.
- The workers are deputies respectively to the search for food and to the care of the colony and the nest.
- Soldiers take care of the defense from predators, such as ants.
Termites are also called “epifamily Termitoidae” insects. In other words, they are insects that shy away from sunlight. The workers and soldiers are in fact blind. While the reproducers are the only coast with functioning eyes. So much so that at the moment of swarming the latter tend to accumulate near the windows. In fact, they actively search for illuminated areas to mate.
The Two Types of Termites That Exist
Two types of termites present in Italy can be distinguished. Dry wood termites and underground termites. These types of termites differ in:
- Type of wood attached.
- Ecological characteristics.
Dry wood termites attack wood containing even a small amount of water. This is why they are called dry wood termites. They are in fact more resistant to low humidity conditions. The most common species of dry wood termites in Italy belong to the genus Kalotermes (K. flavicollis, K. Italicus) and to the genus Cryptotermes sp.
Subterranean termites, on the other hand, attack preferentially moist wood. They are therefore sensitive to low levels of ambient humidity.
The most widespread underground termites belong to various species of the genus Reticulitermes sp. (R. lucifugus, R. Urbis, R. flavipes) and of the genus Coptotermes sp.
Where Do Termites Nest?
The two types of termites also differ in the way they nest. Dry wood termites nest directly in the wood they attack. They thus form irregularly shaped cavities in the wood. Inside are all the members of the colony who dig the wood to feed on the cellulose it contains.
Subterranean termites, on the other hand, nest in the ground and move out of the nest onto the wood to feed. To do this, they dig underground tunnels. When they are forced to move out of the ground they build “earthy walkways” instead. These are exposed tunnels made up of feces, saliva, and kneaded wood. Underground tunnels and earthy walkways protect the termites from light. They also maintain high levels of humidity inside, which are essential for this type of termite.
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