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Termites are detritivores, consuming dead plants at any level of decomposition. They also play a vital role in the ecosystem by recycling waste material such as dead wood, faeces and plants.8182 Many species eat cellulose, having a specialised midgut that breaks down the fibre.83 Termites are considered to be a major source (11%) of atmospheric methane, one of the prime greenhouse gases, produced from the breakdown of cellulose.84 Termites rely primarily upon symbiotic protozoa (metamonads) and other microbes such as flagellate protists in their guts to digest the cellulose for them, allowing them to absorb the end products for their own use.8586 Gut protozoa, such as Trichonympha, in turn, rely on symbiotic bacteria embedded on their surfaces to produce some of the necessary digestive enzymes.

The flagellates have been lost in Termitidae.878889 Scientists' understanding of the relationship between the termite gastrointestinal tract and also the microbial endosymbionts is still rudimentary; what is true in all termite species, however, is that the employees feed the different members of their colony with substances derived from the digestion of plant material, either in the mouth or anus.54 Judging from closely related bacterial species, it is strongly assumed that the termites' and cockroach's gut microbiota derives from their dictyopteran ancestors.90.

Certain species like Gnathamitermes tubiformans have seasonal food customs. For example, they might preferentially consume Red three-awn (Aristida longiseta) during the summertime, Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) from May to August, and blue grama Bouteloua gracilis during spring, summer and autumn. Colonies of G. tubiformans consume less food in spring than they do during autumn when their feeding activity is high.91.

Various forests differ in their susceptibility to termite attack; the differences are attributed to these factors as moisture content, hardness, and resin and lignin content. In one study, the drywood termite Cryptotermes brevis strongly preferred poplar and walnut woods to other woods that were generally rejected from the termite colony.

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Some varieties of termite practice fungiculture. They maintain that a"garden" of specialised fungi of genus Termitomyces, which can be nourished from the excrement of these insects. When the fungi are eaten, their spores pass undamaged through the intestines of the termites to complete the cycle by germinating in the fresh faecal pellets.9394 Molecular evidence suggests that the household Macrotermitinae developed agriculture roughly 31 million years ago.

Originally living in the rainforest, fungus farming enabled them to colonise the African savannah and other new environments, eventually expanding into Asia.95.

Depending on their feeding habits, termites are placed into two groups: the lower termites and higher termites. The lower vases predominately feed on timber. As wood is difficult to digest, termites prefer to consume fungus-infected wood because it is easier to digest and the fungi are high in protein. Meanwhile, the higher termites consume a wide variety of substances, including faeces, humus, grass, leaves and roots.96 The intestine in the lower termites contains many species of bacteria along with protozoa, whereas the higher termites only have a few species of bacteria with no protozoa.97.

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Termites are consumed by a huge variety of predators. One termite species alone, Hodotermes mossambicus, was found in the gut contents of 65 birds and 19 mammals.98 Arthropods such as ants,99100 centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, dragonflies, scorpions and spiders,101 reptiles such as lizards,102 and amphibians such as frogs103 and toads consume termites, together with 2 spiders in the household Ammoxenidae being professional termite predators.104106 Other predators include aardvarks, aardwolves, anteaters, bats, bears, bilbies, many birds, echidnas, foxes, galagos, numbats, mice and pangolins.104107108109 The aardwolf is an insectivorous mammal that mostly feeds on termites; it finds its own foods by sound and also more by detecting the scent secreted by the soldiers; a single aardwolf is effective at consuming thousands of termites in a single night by using its long, sticky tongue.110111 Sloth bears break open mounds to consume the nestmates, whereas chimpanzees have grown resources to"fish" termites from their nest.

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Among most predators, ants are the best enemy to termites.99100 Some ant genera are specialist predators of termites. For example, Megaponera is a strictly termite-eating (termitophagous) genus that perform raiding activities, some lasting a few hours.113114 Paltothyreus tarsatus is another termite-raiding species, together with every individual stacking as many fleas as possible in its mandibles before returning home, all of the while recruiting additional nestmates into the raiding website through chemical trails.99 The Malaysian basicerotine ants Eurhopalothrix heliscata uses a different approach of termite hunting by pressing themselves into tight spaces, since they hunt through rotting wood housing termite colonies.

A scout recruits 1030 workers to an area where termites are present, killing them by immobilising them using their stinger.115 Centromyrmex and Iridomyrmex colonies sometimes nest in termite mounds, and so the termites are preyed on by these ants. No evidence for any kind of relationship (other than a predatory one) is known.116117 Other ants, including Acanthostichus, Camponotus, Crematogaster, Cylindromyrmex, Leptogenys, Odontomachus, Ophthalmopone, Pachycondyla, Rhytidoponera, Solenopsis and Wasmannia, also prey on termites.10799118 In contrast to all these ant species, and despite their enormous diversity of prey, Dorylus ants rarely consume termites.119.

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