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How Do Termites Survive Drops In Temperature And Water Shortages?

Filed under: Termite Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:19 pm August 31, 2017

How Do Termites Survive Drops In Temperature And Water Shortages?

Termites are tiny creatures that do not move around fast, so they must take care to avoid areas that are too hot or too cold. Termites are particularly picky about their surrounding heat and moisture levels. Termites will not forage in areas that are not within a certain temperature and moisture range. Termites prefer temperatures in between seventy five and ninety five degrees fahrenheit. Termites will perish quickly if an environment’s temperature rises above one hundred degrees or below twenty five degrees. Even though termites are not the speediest of insects, they make it their priority to remain within areas where the temperature level is ideal.

Over the course of a year, temperatures fluctuate dramatically in all regions of the US. When consuming the cellulose in a log, for example, termites will respond to temperature changes by moving from the outer to inner portions of a log. Subterranean termites, the most common termite pests in the United States, will respond to temperature change by digging several feet below the soil’s surface, where temperatures are less variable and more steady. These same termites will also find shade during the hotter summer days when the soil is too hot. During the winter in colder regions, like the midwest, subterranean termites will dig as far as forty feet below the soil’s surface, where they remain in an inactive state for a period of time. Other termites can overwinter within logs. If termites are found overwintering, they may appear frozen, but they soon regain movement when heated.

The amount of moisture termites require varies among species. For example, drywood termites retain all the moisture they need from the wood that they consume, even if the infested wood appears dry. However, subterranean termites require a relatively large amount of water in order to survive, so constant access to water is a requirement for these termites. Subterranean termites prefer moist wood, and they even possess “water sacs” for storing water. This stored water is used during tunnel construction, as the water helps soften and form the dirt tunnels. This is why dry termite mud-tubes that protrude from the ground, are likely old and unused tubes where subterranean termites were once active. Too much water is also a possibility. Subterranean termites will evade large pools of water, and Formosan termites are killed by frequent southern floodwaters. On the other hand, dampwood termites can tolerate high volumes of water that would be devastating for any other type of termite.


Why do you think different termite species all developed different bodily reactions to water?