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Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:58 pm December 14, 2017

Termites Can Reveal How Our Ancestors Migrated Across Earth

The regions of earth where modern termite species dwell has raised many interesting questions for scientists. Pinpointing modern termite habitats is not difficult. Scientists know where certain termite species exist today. However, signs of prehistoric termite activity have been discovered in regions where certain termite species are no longer located. In these situations it seems clear that certain termite species had, at some point, migrated to new regions of the globe where they are still active today. This is not necessarily unusual, as climatic conditions on earth have changed dramatically in the past. These past climatic changes have forced all animal species, living and extinct, to relocate to more hospitable environments. But you would not expect tiny insects to be capable of traveling great distances, especially over large bodies of water. The subterranean termite species known as Macrotermes gilvus is active in southeast Asia. At some point in the distant past, these termites managed to reach islands such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. So how did termites travel across the ocean? The answer to that question has also helped researchers understand how our human ancestors migrated to different parts of the world thousands, and even millions of years ago.

Today sea levels are much higher than they were when mankind’s early ancestors walked the earth. Due to lower sea levels, there once existed ancient land masses that connected modern islands with mainland continents. The Macrotermes gilvus termite species traveled these land masses to their farthest reaches over many thousands of years. These termites remained there after sea levels rose above the connective land masses. Researchers have recently found genetic evidence of these particular ancient termite migrations. Genetic markers in modern Macrotermes gilvus termites reveal the migratory routes taken by these termites when they dispersed two million years ago from a region that is now located in mainland Myanmar. Experts believe that our humanoid ancestors also took advantage of these land masses when searching for more agreeable habitats. These ancient land bridges have long been the go-to explanation for the modern existence of termites on islands. But only recently has this assumption been backed up by hard science.

Do you think it would have taken thousands of years and many generations of gradual travel for termites to reach areas of land that are now islands?

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:11 pm December 7, 2017

Termite Mounds Have A Special Chamber For The Royal Couple

It is good to know that some termites are not attracted to the wood in our homes. Many termites prefer to inhabit mounds where fungi are grown for sustenance. Some mound building termites are not considered pests at all. Most mound building termites that are considered pests do not destroy wood; instead many termite pests that live in mounds destroy certain crops. There are no mound building termite species residing in the United States, but most other continents in the world have an abundance of different mound types.

Termites mounds are like cities that never stop undergoing construction. Most of you probably know that termite mounds are built in a manner that allows for internal climate control. However, most people are not aware that termite mounds are like palaces that contain many different chambers. Some of these chambers are dedicated to growing fungal crops, while other chambers store harvested fungi. There are also chambers that store eggs. And of course there is a royal chamber. The royal chamber obviously houses the queen and king termites. These mounds are intricate and technologically complicated even when it comes to human understanding. But for termites, the mound is an enormous temperature controlled city that lies beyond the limits of an individual termite’s understanding.

Although a termite mound may look indestructible, the walls of a mound are marked with numerous holes. These holes take in outside air. The air becomes warm as it travels through the mound. The warm air rises and is expelled through a chimney where the air is immediately cooled by outside air. This causes the air to drop back down into the mound. This cooled air then circulates through the mound. The circulation process repeats and it keeps the temperature in the mound cool and constant. Fungal gardens are cultivated in order to feed the mass amount of termites living within a mound. The constant temperature within the mound is a must for the proper cultivation of fungal crops.

Worker termites will often venture up to the royal chamber in order to take the queen’s eggs to a nearby nursery. The workers then clean these eggs. The eggs are fed compost until reaching adulthood. The bottom of the nest extends six feet below the ground where temperatures are particularly cool. This area is called “the cellar”. The cellar’s ceiling is thin so that moisture from the above structures can be absorbed and evaporated quickly, which further cools the cellar. These mounds can house up to millions of termites at a time.

Have you ever seen a termite mound while vacationing in another country?

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:26 pm November 30, 2017

Termite Infestations May Lead To Mass Demolitions

If you have never experienced a termite infestation in your home, then you probably know someone who has. Termite infestations are common in every American state except for Alaska. If you are not a homeowner, then you can spare yourself the fear of a possible termite infestation. If you are a homeowner, then you know that a termite infestation could leave you broke if it is not detected quickly enough. This is why termite inspections are always necessary in order to save money in the long run. According to a recent survey, a whopping eighty four percent of homeowners have experienced a pest infestation within the past twelve months. The same survey found that eighty percent of homeowners are worried about a possible pest infestation, and termites were among the most feared of all pests.

In Kansas City, Missouri the roof of a house recently caved in. Once firefighters arrived on the scene it was determined that the collapse was caused by a termite infestation. This particular house is just one of many damaged houses in the city that will have to be demolished by the local government. However, the recent collapse occurred at a home made of bricks. This proves that non-wood constructed homes are also vulnerable to termite infestations, as some parts of a house made of bricks must contain wooden materials. The owner of the termite-damaged home has said that he wants to have the necessary repairs done, but the city has added the house to a long list of other damaged homes that need to be demolished. The demolition list now includes three hundred and fifty houses in Kansas City. It is not known how many of these houses have become damaged by termites. However, pest control experts have noted similarly damaged homes near the site of the recent collapse.

Do you find it hard to believe that hundreds of homes in one city could have become damaged by termites?

 

 

Termites Can Help Dispose Of Environmentally Unfriendly Plastics

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 5:28 am October 30, 2017

Termites Can Help Dispose Of Environmentally Unfriendly PlasticsTermite

Modern humans have produced a whole lot of trash, and not all of this trash will wind up in landfills. Much of our trash will wind up the in the sea. Our oceans currently contain trash piles that are as large as small islands. Some people may think that this overabundance of trash is not a big deal. After all, everything decomposes at some point.

Of course nothing lasts forever, and this includes our trash. But the problem is that some of the things we throw out everyday will take a very long time to degrade. For example, many plastic objects that do not degrade quickly will wind up in our trash, mainly plastic shopping bags. However, researchers may have found a solution to this problem, and it involves termites.

A Ugandan researcher from Makerere University in Kampala, Chris Kasamba, stumbled upon soldier termites eating away at plastic bags that he was using to hold seedlings during a camping trip. The plastic bags are technically polythene bags, and Kasamba’s observation made him curious. Kasamba set up an experiment to determine whether or not termites could benefit the environment by consuming polythene bags. Kasamba learned that Macrotermes herus termites were responsible for consuming the bags that he used during his trip. Kasamba soon demonstrated that the herus termites could indeed consume polythene material.

Despite Kasamba’s findings, more research is needed before termites are used as an environmentally friendly way of reducing the amount of polythene waste in the world. Kasamba was not able to determine whether the herus termites digested the polythene or simply brought the material back to nesting areas to be used for nest building.

Many termites, the herus included, appear to consume wood, but they actually bring wood back to their nests for fungi to digest. The fungi then break the wood down into simpler carbohydrates that can be consumed. The termites observed in the study may be doing the same thing with polythene plastic. Many researchers are nevertheless excited about the potential environmental benefits that these termites may bring to humanity.

Do you believe that termites could offer humanity more environmental benefits than are currently understood?

Property Management Company Fails To Eradicate Termites From An Apartment Unit

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:29 pm October 26, 2017

Property Management Company Fails To Eradicate Termites From An Apartment Unit

Difficult and/or apathetic apartment managers are common enough. Many of us have likely had experiences with irresponsible property managers that did not seem to care about honoring particular agreements outlined within a lease. In Slidell, Louisiana, Michelle Landry and her family have been plagued with a termite infestation within their apartment unit for weeks. The apartment is named Audubon Gates.

Landry noticed signs of a termite infestation some time ago. In response to what she found, Landry promptly reported the termite problem to employees working at the apartment’s front desk. However, some time has passed since Landry complained to her property managers, and since then, no effort has been made by the property managers to eradicate the termites. Since the initial complaint, the termite presence has exploded into a full blown infestation. Today, Landry and her family are forced to live around the termites on a daily basis. When local news reached out to the apartment building’s property managers, which is named 1st Lake Properties, they responded by saying that they are “working to resolve the problem.” Landry does not find this comment reassuring as the termites are being found in every nook of her apartment unit. For example, Landry has reported finding termites in her sinks, her shower, behind her toilet, her entire bathroom, behind her doors and termites are even entering her home everyday through tiny cracks in her walls. The termites can be seen everywhere you look. The termites are simply inescapable.

Landry noticed that an upstairs window in her apartment had been covered in duct tape. Once she removed the tape she found numerous termites. According to Landry, the property management company placed this duct tape over the opening as a solution to the infestation. The placement of the duct tape was a clear sign that her property management company was, and still is avoiding the hiring of a pest control professional.

Eventually, the property manager agreed to credit Landry a half month worth of rent and a new apartment unit. However, the company soon backtracked on this offer and instead prepared to remove sheetrock from the unit’s walls in an effort to rid the unit of termites. According to the property manager, it turned out that there were no new apartment units available. But the company is willing to pay for all expenses related to the termite infestation.

If you were experiencing a situation similar to Landry’s would you file a lawsuit over the termite infestation?

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?

Filed under: Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 2:32 pm October 19, 2017

Do Termites Enjoy Greater Evolutionary Success Than Ants?Carpenter Ant

Ants may have existed on this planet for a very long time, but the evolutionary history of termites goes farther back than most insects, including ants. Both ants and termites are eusocial insects, meaning they live within colonies, and adapt to the environment collectively. Some scientists theorize that ants may have developed into eusocial insects by mimicking the social behaviors of termites millions of years ago. Unlike ants, however, the general physical appearance of termites has not changed much since they first appeared on earth during the triassic period. Ants first appeared on earth millions of years later during the cretaceous period. Despite the fact that termites are millions of years older than ants, ants have managed to diversify into well over twelve thousand different species. Whereas there are only between twenty six hundred to three thousand different termite species in existence today. For some reason, termites have not evolved as rapidly as ants.

Are ants a more successful type of insect than termites since the number of termite species in existence is far fewer than the number of ant species? Probably not, as the number of species belonging to one type of insect does not necessarily indicate superior adaptive abilities. One reason why termites have not evolved as much as ants and other insects is largely a result of the adaptive success that termites have enjoyed since day one. Early termites were blessed with adaptive features that made them uniquely successful creatures. As a result of this success, termites have not needed to adapt to new environments as much as other insects have. For example, since many termites hide beneath the soil and feed on the cellulose in plant matter, large predators were not able to easily access termites. A termite’s living conditions have always provided shelter from enemies as well as sustenance in the form of plant routes in order to survive. Therefore, termites can access everything that they need to survive while rarely risking their lives out in the open wilderness. When compared to termites, ants are quite vulnerable to predators, therefore ants have adapted many different physical features that have allowed them to thrive within different environments.

Do you think that there exists any other types of modern insects that are better suited for survival than termites?

A Pest Control Company Is Refusing To Pay A Homeowner For Massive Termite Damage

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:16 pm October 16, 2017

A Pest Control Company Is Refusing To Pay A Homeowner For Massive Termite DamageTermite

Termite infestations are a concern for homeowners all over America, especially in Florida. Florida is home to numerous types of termite species, which puts Florida homeowners on edge. One Florida homeowner from Lutz signed a contract with a popular pest control company that is based only in the state of Florida. The homeowner, Nathan Giordano, initially thought that he was getting a good deal after he signed a contract with the local pest control company. The contract stated that customers would receive regular termite treatments on their property as long as customers make annual three hundred dollar payments. In addition to that, the contract includes a one million dollar policy to cover any possible termite related damages. Ideally, the company would not have to pay for termite repairs since the company employs many pest control professionals who regularly inspect their customers properties. However, Giordano was one customer who noticed extensive termite damage to his home four months ago. Unfortunately, employees with the pest control company are choosing to ignore the contract by not paying for any termite-related damages to Giordano’s home.

Giordano has been a loyal customer of seven years and has always paid his annual premiums on time. Naturally Giordano assumed that his pest control company would abide by the rules outlined in the contract by paying him for the termite damage in his home. As a result of termite activity, Giordano was forced to have emergency repairs done to his home. These repairs have cost Giordano ten thousand dollars. Giordano believes that at least thirty thousand dollars in repairs is still needed. However, the pest control company is saying that Giordano’s home only became infested with termites as a result of conditions that are “conducive to termites”. Therefore employees with the pest control company believe that it is not their responsibility to pay for Giordano’s home repairs. In response to this Giordano has pointed out that the area of the contract that asks about “conducive” conditions is left blank. So far, a branch manager with the pest control company has offered Giordano just a bit more than twenty one hundred dollars in compensation, which does not make a dent in his termite repair costs.

Have you ever experienced a termite infestation, but were not sure as to which pest control professionals to contact?

Termites Cause The Removal Of A Beloved Tree

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Termites — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 4:19 pm September 29, 2017

Termites Cause The Removal Of A Beloved Tree

We all know that termites can destroy valuable homes. And most of us know that termites are active consumers of plant-life. However, most people only complain about termite damage when homes have been affected. How often do you hear about the sad loss of an admired tree due to termite damage? Probably not very often. However, some people take decades old trees very seriously. For example, in San Diego, California, the Coral Tree Tea House in Old Town’s Heritage Park has recently been reopened after a historically significant tree was removed from the property. The Coral Tree House obviously gets its name from the majestic-looking coral tree that was a prominent feature at the park for six decades. Now, many members of the public, and even state politicians, are lamenting over the loss of the tree. The tree split and fell over a couple of years ago, and it stayed in that condition until finally being removed. State officials say that the tree fell over due to natural causes, but the individuals who run the Coral Tree House insist that termite damage brought the tree down. Pam Catania, one of the caretakers of the Coral Tree House, believes that the tree would still be standing if it had been sprayed with termite-killing insecticide.

The loss of the tree has been a major blow to the people living nearby in the surrounding neighborhood. Even former state Senator Larry Stirling has admitted to being disappointed over the fate of the tree. According to Stirling, waking up and seeing the tree missing from the park was “like being hit with a cold bucket of water while sleeping.” Stirling demanded that Supervisor Ron Roberts explain to him why the tree was removed. However, Stirling never received a response. Stirling claimed that the law allowed for public records regarding the tree’s removal to be released. This prompted the Department of Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright to respond to former Senator Stirling’s inquiries. Albright claimed that the “DPR recognizes the value and significance of the coral tree at Heritage Park,” and that the tree unexpectedly fell as a result of natural causes. However, Pam Catania and her family insist that termites brought it down, and that the DPR failed to spray the tree with insecticide. A mature coral tree is now being sought as a replacement.

Have you ever experienced a termite infestation that caused a treehouse or a swing to be removed as a child?

 

 

 

 

A Former President And Union General’s Historic Home Was A Termite Hotspot

Filed under: Pest Control,Termites — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 3:13 am August 29, 2017

A Former President And Union General’s Historic Home Was A Termite Hotspot

If you have never heard of the eighteenth President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, then you are not much of a history buff. Grant was a two-term president, and a Union General operating under President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Due to Grant’s accomplishments and overall importance to American history, many historians have stressed the importance of preserving the log cabin where Grant lived during the war. Fortunately, the government agreed to preserve the log cabin where Grant issued orders during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the log cabin ha come under attack by termites several times since the cabin had been built. These termite infestations have nearly destroyed the cabin many times over.

The most recent restoration to Grant’s cabin occurred back in the year 2000. Termites had caused more than thirty thousand dollars in damage by eating through several pieces of wood. The restoration included the replacement of twenty two logs, and was paid for with a grant from the National Park foundation. According to park historian Jimmy Blankenship, termites had eaten through several logs, as well as wood located above the cabin’s door (the only entrance). The termite-eaten wood connected the walls of the cabin to the ceiling. The cabin is located at the City Point unit of Petersburg National Battlefield Park, and only about five percent of the original cabin remains.

Back in September of 1981 a thorough restoration had also taken place; once again as a result of numerous termite infestations. However, the cabin was then located in Richmond, Virginia, which is where the cabin was moved in 1865. The cabin had been moved from City Point in 1865 so that Grant could command his troops from a more convenient location during the end of the Civil War.

During the restoration of 1981, the cabin was dismantled by the National Park Service for its relocation from Richmond to City Point. The National Park service was hoping that termites would be less of a problem for the cabin if it was moved back to its original home at City Point. However, this was not the case, as officials with the park service would discover nineteen years later.

Have you ever heard about termites destroying historical artifacts or the presence of termites within museums? To your knowledge, what is the most treasured item ever destroyed by a termite infestation?

The Last Invasive Termite Family Was Found In America During The 1990s

Filed under: Horizon Pest Control,Termite Control — Tags: , — New Jersey Pest Control @ 6:10 am August 18, 2017

The Last Invasive Termite Family Was Found In America During The 1990sTermites New Jersey

Many of you have heard of the eastern subterranean termite, as these termites cause more property damage than any other type of termite in the United States. Other termites that cause millions in damage each year include dampwood and drywood termites, and of course, Formosan termites. Since Formosan termites are invasive, and not as widely distributed within the US, then they must be the most recent termites to have invaded America, right? Well, not really. It is true that Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) have only existed within America since the 1960s, but there is another invasive termite family that was found in Miami, Florida in 1996. I am referring to the Asian subterranean termite, or Coptotermes gestroi. Although many people often get Formosans and Asian Termites confused, due to their many similarities, these two termites are completely different.

Asian termites have not moved beyond the state of Florida. This is due to the Asian termites preference for more tropical regions. So far, Asian termites have not populated any regions that are farther north than Riviera Beach, Florida. However, these termites have been discovered infesting numerous structures and boats in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, Broward County, and especially Key West.

Asian termites are frequently found on boats that are docked within saltwater. Formosan termites, on the other hand, have a much heavier presence heavy within Florida. Formosans are able to survive in more temperate climates when compared to Asian termites. Currently, west Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Riviera Beach are the only three locations in the world where both Formosan and Asian termite populations overlap.

These two termites are also notorious for their ability to quickly devour wooden objects, and other materials containing cellulose, in a relatively short amounts of time. Formosan termites are found in several more southern states, but, luckily, experts believe that Asian subterranean termites will remain most active in southern Florida. However, experts say that a northward expansion is likely for Asian termites.

Did you know that there was a difference between Formosan subterranean termites and Asian subterranean termites? Do you think that these two termites could successfully produce offspring?

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