Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ants or Termites

Ants or Termites

My post yesterday discussed the ant tunnel 
that I came across on my walk
I think perhaps the little critters are termites 
or white ants as they are known here.
While fascinating these creatures they can cause
much damage to wooden structures.

At Meri's suggestion I did a bit of googling 
and found an Australian website 
that included the comparison sketches below...

Alates are reproductive termites with wings. 
The others don't have wings
Termites can belong to the subterranean group 
and live in colonies with up to two million inhabitants

How on earth do they know what they are doing...

In warmer climates they like to be above ground

Drywood termites,
the ones we find here,
feed on wood from which they draw moisture.
The tubes or tunnels are made from soil, wood and saliva
Dry wood termites live in smaller colonies 
with about 3000 members.

The termites like to keep in tunnels to avoid predators
who can be ants, aardvarks and birds

The critters come above ground 
to look for food and to raise their larvae...

Now we know a little more about this amazing family
who can chomp their way through your house. 

In Kauai it is not uncommon to see houses tented
in colourful stripes like circus tents
They are being fumigated for the white ant.

Reproductive (alates)
Termite (left) and ant (right)
Line drawing 
showing the differences between winged reproductive termites and ants 
(alates). Termites have a narrow waist and antennae are beadlike and not
 elbowed in shape         

Termite (left) and ant (right)
Line drawing 
showing the differences between soldier (worker) termites and ants. 
Termites don't have eyes and the abdomen ends broadly, never with a 


  1. Either way - they draw a line in the sand.

  2. Barb

    you are funny...

    Happy days

  3. Termites are a menace here -

    Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hello Delywn

    Excellent information! I have always heard that termites are a pain and once you have them eating your house away-they can be very hard to get rid of.

    Tracy :)

  6. I come across termites, quite often in the woods and under stacked logs and my flower garden contains a large ant hill or two. As long as they stay outside, we can coexist. Red ants here have a stinging bite, we do try to stay away from them!...Wanda

  7. As much as I would dislike finding termites munching on the studs in my house, I want to say that termites must surely do the web of life heaps of good by helping dead and dying trees recycle their cellulose into nutrients (termite poop) for the good of future generations of trees.


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