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What Eats Termites?

People who are interested in natural or organic termite control often are interested in what are natural predators of termites.  

What Animals Eat Termites?

Reptiles

Quite a few different types of lizards and snakes have been observed eating termites through out the world.  In Africa large monitor lizards, skinks, and agamid lizards have been observed eating termites from their colonies.  In Australia legless lizards, frill necked lizards, and geckos eat termites.  And some snakes who lie in proximity to termite infested wood will consume a few termites or termite eggs when the opportunity arrises.  

Amphibians

Frogs and newts will grab termites from the air or from under a rotten log.  

Birds

Many types of bird will opportunistically nab up both flying termites as well as termites crawling around on exposed ground.  Here is a list of just some that have been seen doing so.
In The Air
  • Swallows
  • Starlings
  • Sparrows
  • Swifts
  • Weavers
On the Ground
  • Spotted Eagle Owls
  • Coucals
  • Chickens
  • Doves
  • Storks

Mammals

Certain mammals love to eat termites and actively seek them out while others will munch on them when the opportunity arrises.

Anteaters, aardvarks, and echinidnas are amongst the animals that actively hunt termites.  Bats will snag up termite swarmers from the air and shrews and moles will snack on termites when they encounter them underground.
According to PBS, just one Bat Eat Fox can even use their huge ears to locate and devour around around 1.5 million termites per year!  And all this by hearing the tiny termites gnawing on grass.  Check out PBS’s article to learn more.
Humans
Yep, you read it right.  Humans also enjoy some termites from time to time.  And we are not just talking prehistoric humanoid who ate termites… More people on this planet still enjoy some termites for a snack or main course meal to this day.
Particularly in some places in Africa, termites still play a major source of food.  Certain people have even developed a custom around getting the termites out of the ground and the preparation of them for eating.

What Other Insects or Bugs Eat Termites?

Ants

Ants are probably one of the major competitors and predators of termites.  There are six species of ants that will actively hunt termites and eat them.  One such species is the carpenter ant.  
Carpenter ants cannot live in the same area as a termite colony without waging war.  They essentially would be competing for the same resource… the wood that is their food.  So for the purposes of natural termite control carpenter ants would be a terrible choice because they would destroy the termite colony and then start feeding on the cellulose containing material that the termites were feeding on prior to their extermination.  You would replace one wood eating insect with another.  Bad idea.
In fact, there have been several cases of unfortunate home owners who had both termite colonies and carpenter ant colonies under the same roof.  If one colony is significantly larger than another, they will most likely destroy the other.  However if they are both “evenly matched” so to speak, they may end up destroying a large portion of your home during their competition for wood. 

Spiders

Spiders will eat nearly anything that gets caught in their webs and this includes winged termites.  Winged termites swarmers are typically the only type of termite that gets eaten by the majority of spiders since they easily get caught in a spiders web.  Spiders may eat a few of these here and there but not in significant enough numbers to be considered anything remotely close to termite control.

Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that can devastate a termite colony.  These tiny microscopic worms infect the termites and kill them from the inside out.  These little creatures can actually be considered to effectively battle termites but they may also need to be mixed with other natural control strategies.  People most often use nematodes for garden termite infestations.  Just do your research ahead of time because some of these nematodes will leave your garden alone and some will ruin it.

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