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Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/13/2007 7:59 PM

I just heard an ad from i think Terminix, claiming that termites eat one pound of wood per day??

I just wondered how that was determined?

I mean, not to sound too stupid, but how would they get the termites to crawl OUT of the wood, so that they could re-weigh it to determine how many ounces they ate That day.??

Or is that just too easy of an answer..

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#1

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/13/2007 8:39 PM

"termites eat one pound of wood per day"

Oh no - my house will be gone in a matter of months!!!

They probably worded like.. "Did you know that termites can consume a pound of wood per day?"

Well a lot of termites could easily do that, depending on the NUMBER OF TERMITES. Because [I don't think] they disclosed any particular number of termites, it is so general that it can easily be true!

I don't think there's any science involved.

Remember, they are trying to sell!!!

Mike

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#2

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/13/2007 11:52 PM

Some termites eat through concrete to get to the wet wood. They are one of the most studied insects on the earth because of the damage they cause to homes and major buildings.

I would imagine the caloric intake may be assessed by the amount of excrement and the total path of a days munching is measured. Nothing to it, really. Hole diameter vs. distance divided by calories = termite in-digestion.

How they figure or account for the concrete calories, is what I want to know...

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/14/2007 1:36 AM

...to homes and major buildings.

How about to minor buildings? :) Or the outhouse... ooops, that was still a major building at our house in 1967.

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#16
In reply to #3

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/19/2007 9:42 PM

Ours also until 1960... and I had to keep the walk out to it snow free. FYI This was in Klamath Falls.

Bill

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/14/2007 3:02 AM

Moto Moto,

that was hilarious, love that shit...

Brilliant mind...

Donald

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 10:23 AM

Moto,

You might find this link interesting:

http://www.bugsinthenews.com/Subterranean%20Termite%20Food%20Consumption.htm

"Subterranean termite daily food consumption varies, among six species of termites common to the United States, from 0.015mg to 0.2mg, averaging about 0.08mg per termite per day. Formosan termite workers tend to eat slightly less than average, but make up for that with huge colonies. Termite colonies vary in size from only a small number of workers up to, perhaps, an average size of 200,000 workers in our native species, and 500,000 workers for Formosan termite colonies. Thus, an average native subterranean termite colony may eat an average of 16 grams (0.56 ounces) a day, 465 grams (1.07 lbs) a month, or 5,840 grams (12.9 pounds) in a year, while a Formosan termite colony may consume somewhat more than twice that amount. Using these numbers to figure how much cellulose in a termite interceptor, or in a wooden structure, a termite colony might eat over a period of time is not possible, however, because termite colonies do not eat in one or only a few places at a time. How many feeding places the colony uses depends on the availability of different food sources, and termite interceptors--as well as structures that they are feeding in--constitute only a portion of their food supply at any given time. "

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It would appear that the "one pound a day" may be an overstatement, based upon "average colony size"...

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#6

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 11:11 AM

Speaking from personal experience, its probably not true. I found termites in a piece of scrap lumber I had in the back yard this weekend. Considering that it weighed about 10 pounds, I would have to say the termites were there less than a day, otherwise it would not have been there for me to find.

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#7

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 1:30 PM

Interesting discussion about our little neighbou .....

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..........crrrrrrkkkkkkkkkkk.........crrrkkkkkkkkkk .........?????!!!!!?????
.........

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#8

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 3:00 PM

That type of statement may win you a Nobel prize.

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#9

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 3:43 PM

How's that line go in the ad? If your house could talk, what would it tell you? More aptly, it should be, "If your wallet could talk, what would it tell you?"

Very much a scare tactic. Certainly not new though, consider all the ads for home alarm systems. They prey on ignorant people's boogie-monster psyche.

Subterranean termites are everywhere around here in my neck of the woods. Neighbors pay the big bucks to have some guy dig green things into the ground and load them with poison. Sometimes spray as well. On the other hand, I just simply make sure I don't pile mulch high against the foundation, make sure I can see a good three or four inches of bare foundation between the ground and the sill plate, and check it periodically, spring, fall, or anytime I'm tending the plants in the gardens and keep an eye out for the mud tubes. (Never seen any tubes on the house, but leave an untreated board on the ground and month later it will be riddled with tunnels)

I see no reason to pour hard earned cash down the toilet when a little reading and common sense can be applied, never mind any environmental effects of adding poison to mother earth. Don't make it easy to access your house and they will leave you alone.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 11:00 PM

I live in a concrete block building, with pavement up to the walls of the building- the closest soil is perhaps 30-40 feet from the walls. Once a year, we have termite swarms, and shortly thereafter, I have termites building their tunnels INSIDE the structure- obviously not coming from the soil, but from nests installed in the holes in the concrete blocks. Every year, I have to poison the exit points, or my furniture and books disappear in short order. Specifically, not all termites need access to soil for their nests...and I wonder where the material for their tunnels comes from...

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 11:32 PM

Your location please. So we can ascertain if your dealing with subterraneans or Formosans. You seem to say the colonies are nesting inside the masonry block cavities??? Have you actually observed such "nests"? You say that the yard is paved 30-40 feet out; but termites can move through soil underneath pavement and slabs. Remember, subterranean termites are not goal oriented. They simply forage sightlessles moving about at random until "wood" is found--all the while creating tunnels which later facilitate mobility to and from the colony. Also, think of termites in terms, not of individual organism, but of the colony being an individual organism--much like bees or ants. The colonial organism consists not just of the "nest" but also of the ever expanding system of tunnels and mud tubes. As a colony successfully finds "food" and grows in population, its "transportation" system also enlarges.

As implicit in the name, mud tube, there is no shortage of dirt for mud tube creation through which termites burrow and eat their way. Also, if you are seeing "saw dust," it is possible that the source could also be the top plates and "superstructure" of the dwelling.

If you are indeed seeing swarms each spring (moreso if these are seen indoors), and assuming by your description that your property is totally paved outside the building, I would at minimum strongly advise drilling and injection of an underground barrier outside the building foundation. While poisoning locally, and vacuuming swarms might mitigate to a degree, this is a battle you're almost certain to lose in the long run. If a Senticon baiting system--which eliminates colonies altogether--is not feasible outdoors, it is possible that surface mounted bait stations might be feasible inside the house. You should check both with barrier services (such as Orkin) and colony elimination services (such as Terminix).

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/16/2007 8:36 PM

Maby in Yankeeland. But not down here. Or ......here

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#15
In reply to #9

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/17/2007 6:05 AM

You hit the nail fair and square. Just about everything is flogged on the fear in peoples minds. Fear that they may smell, fear their houses may smell, fear of germs, fear theat they might look their age for goodness sake.

And all the products they've ditched their cash on end up in the atmosphere and water courses never mind the mind boggling amount of energy wasted in their production.

If you want you're house smelling nice open the gdam windows and go in the garden and pick something that smells nice, when you've finished with it put it in the compost.

Sorry, I forgot, land too valuable, no garden any more and opening the window might let a worse smell in depending where you live. I'll almost certainly let in a helluva lot of noise.

There I go again.

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#11

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/15/2007 11:03 PM

Campbell, here's the likely answer to your question. Terminix uses primarily the Sentricon Termite Baiting system. This is a system wherein cylindrical bait stations are imbedded in the ground at intervals around a house foundation. At the beginning after bait station installation, sticks of wood tested to be appetizing to termites are placed, one inside each station. These are the "Monitor" or "Bait" stations and are checked periodically (fixed intervals) for termites feeding. Between installation and these periodic checks, the blind termites forage at random through the soil until, by chance, a stick in a station is found, at which point the "lucky" (or would it be, unlucky) termite eats until dusk or until gorged and then follows her scent trail back to the hive where she (or rather her scent trail) recruits hive mates back to the station. Each time a particular station is checked by the Terminix worker (as distinguished from the worker termite), a bar code on the station cap is scanned with a handheld devise...so that the location and status of any one station, and cumulatively the location and status of all stations at all customers, is entered and maintained in a data base. Now, whenever a termite is found in a bait station, that termite (or termites) is removed manually, the stick is removed, a special cylinder containing (not termiticide but) special growth factor is installed in place of the stick, the removed termites are returned to the station, and the station--now termed, "Recruit Station"--is closed and left for subsequent monitoring. These returned termites then begin feeding on the "bait," find their way out of the station, and begin carrying bait in their guts back to the hive...continuing to recruit new foragers to the station. Now, as said, the bait does not kill the termites outright. Instead, it contains a substance which cause the exoskeleton to grow abnormally...eventually disabling the termite from further productive foraging, which leads to its starvation and death. As more an more termites become thus disabled and dead, the colony itself, including the queen (and the nursery) which relies on the foragers for all sustenance, also dies. This is the key difference between the Sentricon system and other, termite barrier applications...in that, with the former, the colony or colonies is/are eliminated; but with the latter, the colony remains intact and continues foraging (and can generate new swarms and new colonies).

The "bait" used to destroy any one colony is a substance used in minute quantities which is imbedded in a kind of cellulose (wood like) matrix...and each time a station is monitored the depletion of matrix (which is of known, and consistent, weight) can be monitored. Likewise, when a bait matrix capsule requires replacement, the amount of matrix consumed (or replenished) is recorded and logged via the scanner. In similar vein, wood sticks replaced due to foraging can be quantified. So, since all these monitoring activities are continuously recorded and compiled, it becomes possible to combine the results of "termite service" throughput the nation (or world), so the data to be analyzed represents a very large, rather than very minute, sample--both of feeding termites and of consumed termite food. It addition to this, is ongoing supporting university research using very large test beds and similar monitoring equipment and techniques. Hope this give a better idea.

There is another possible source of data involving actual measurements of house destruction (for insurance purposes) but I would guess this source to be ancillary--more likely used for analysis control or validaton purposes.

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#14

Re: Termites eat one pound of wood per day??

10/17/2007 5:44 AM

the Africar project, a car made of plywood and which I thought was a great idea, failed due to termites apparently! Even the railway sleepers are made of concrete because of termites. I remember bing in a bar in Lobatse and it filling with migrating termites, the owner had to turn the lights off and wait for them to leave. Lovely informative post above by the way.

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