There are many different types of insects that make their homes in wood, but termites are one of the most common and the most helpful. Without them, many ecosystems wouldn’t be able to sustain themselves. Termites are small insects that can live just about anywhere there is wooden material. They don’t create their own nests; they take up residence in pre-existing structures. There are more than 1,000 species of termites found all over the world.
These social creatures get along fairly well with other organisms when it comes to living in a mutually beneficial setup called a colony. They thrive in damp, humid environments and like to eat wood from time to time, but they do have some benefits for us as humans as well as other animals and plants that share their environment. Let’s take a look at how termites contribute to your ecosystem.
Termites are known more commonly for their destructive, rather than constructive, nature. Termites feed on organic matter, especially plant material. They also produce termite feces that can be used as a natural pesticide. These insects are therefore an important part of the ecosystem by performing a variety of important functions. The termite is the only insect that has both wood and terms of its own! Termites live in colonies called Termite Castles. These termite castles are made up of millions of individual termite eggs laid together to make tough, waterproof shelters called castles. In some places, termites may play an important role in controlling the abundance of certain pests like ants and beetles.
Here is an interesting read from the Mirage News signifying the importance of termites in our ecosystem:
Most people think termites are a nuisance that consumes wood in homes and businesses. In reality, these termites represent less than four percent of all termite species worldwide. Termites are critical in natural ecosystems-especially in the tropics-because they are key players in wood decomposition. The world would be piled high with dead plants and animals without termites.
Forested ecosystems contain over 675 billion metric tons of biomass; a significant fraction of that biomass has been immobilized for centuries in wood. According to new research, and in conjunction with current global change trends, where we expect warming shifts to tropical climates in many areas around the planet, the effect termites could have on wood decay is likely to increase as termites are predicted to have access to ecosystems where they are not currently present.
In an international study that collected data in 133 sites spanning 20 countries, assistant professor Paul-Camilo Zalamea and research associate Carolina Sarmiento from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, along with more than 100 collaborators, learned that termites are pivotal when it comes to breaking down wood, contributing to the earth’s carbon cycle. Their research also showed that termites are very sensitive to temperature and rainfall – as temperatures heat up, the termite’s role in wood decay will likely expand beyond the tropics.
“We found that termite discovery and wood consumption were highly sensitive to temperature. This result has tremendous consequences for understanding carbon storage,” said Zalamea, also a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
For the study, published in the journal Science, lead author Amy Zanne (University of Miami) and collaborators studied wood decomposition using the same experimental design replicated in a variety of habitats across six continents.
“This paper results from a massive collaborative effort. In my research group, we were in charge of running the wood decay experiment deployed on Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Panama,” Zalamea added. “This study is the largest collaboration I have worked on, and it was gratifying to see how the local scale data we collected in Panama was related to the global patterns described in the paper,” Sarmiento added.
Like cows, termites release carbon from the wood as methane and carbon dioxide, which are two of the most important greenhouse gases. Thus, expansions in termite distributions may increasingly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
“Before the publication of our paper, little was known about the climate sensitivity of termites in wood decay; now we know that termites are highly sensitive to temperature, considerably more than microbes, widely known in the literature as key players in wood decay,” added Zalamea. “This finding is extremely relevant, because it shows how termites have been overlooked in the past, and it improves our ability to better understand the carbon cycle globally,” Sarmiento added.
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TermirepelTM is an EU-BPR-approved insect aversive repellent, used also against all types of insects. It works on the mechanism of repellency which means that it does not kill the target insects but only repel them, thus balancing the ecology and helping to maintain a sustainable environment.
TermirepelTM is available in various forms such as masterbatch, liquid concentrate, lacquer gel, wood polish additive, and spray.
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TermirepelTM is available as a wood polish additive that can be applied directly on wooden furniture and articles.
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By using TermirepelTM you will get an effective solution against termites and other insects.
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