These unpleasant small insects can infest a whole house and damage the whole structure. And not only that, they can also infest trees and form several massive colonies in a single tree. If you have a super-looking garden and you care about it, you should pay attention so you can learn about the danger that can harm your plants.
Why do termites infest trees?
As you know, termites have a special need of wood and they love to live in wooden areas. Trees may become the perfect location for a colony to build a nest and start evolving. Termites gain entry to the tree trunk through the hollow center and this spot – the hollow center – is considered as their door to the outside.
There are many reasons behind the infestation of trees by some termite species:
- Food source: if the tree is currently alive, then termites invade it through the hollow center and start eating wood in the main trunk which will cause immediate death to the tree.
If the tree is already dead, then the favorite food for termites is decayed wood where a lot of dead cellulose can be found and used to synthetize energy. Besides decayed wood is easier for termites to move in and is a safer nest for a termite colony.
- Moisture Source: everybody knows that termites need high levels of moisture and they like to live in wet areas such as the underground soil. A tree can be the perfect source of moisture. It can provide termites with enough moisture and cool air, in the inside, to guarantee the survival of a colony.
- Safety: every species on earth always seeks for the safest place to live in. Even termites seek for protection, and trees may be the safest area for them to build a nest and form their colony away from the human danger and hiding from predators.
A dead tree in the backyard can also be a camouflage for the termite existence, they choose the dead tree to form a massive huge colony underneath it and start using this source as a permanent source of food and a camouflage from humans.
- Source of darkness: Termites are blind social insects that prefer working in the dark, therefore, a tree trunk or a dead tree can be a perfect source of darkness to termites, it doesn’t provide light and it allows them to work comfortably.
The tree provides all the great conditions for an appropriate life of a colony, some trees can lead colonies to live up to 100 years if they are not recognized. Besides, trees are a natural treasure that must be protected of termite infestations.
Signs of termite infestations in a trees
Wherever they – termites – go, they leave clues and traces to be followed. They always leave signs that allow their extermination, and you need to know about these signs so you can prevent having destructive termites in your beautiful trees.
- Termite nests: When termites infest trees, they form a huge-scale colony and their nest become clearly, identifiable, through the hollow center. A pile of mud and fecal pellets appear on the tree trunk or may cover the entire tree surface, which means the tree is suffering from total termite infestation and there is a very huge colony underneath the tree which commands all this infestation system.
- Frequency of holes in the tree trunk: Termites make holes in the wood of the tree trunk in order to make the shifting from the inside to the outside easier and to provide the inner space with some cool air. The frequency of these holes in a single tree can be a sign to the existence of a termite colony.
- Mud tubes or tunnels: This sign – existence of mud tubes – is always found when a termite infestation takes place, even when an infestation in a tree is occurring, termites build mud tunnels from the base of the tree along the trunk to protect the trip between the underground nest – the soil – and the secondary next – the tree trunk.
- Termite swarmers: As you are taking care of your garden between July and October, you may identify some termite swarmers if some of your trees are being infested.
Well, swarming is necessary in some termite species to guarantee the survival of the colony. Reproductive termites swarm from one tree to another to build other colonies by mating and when this occurs, it becomes a critical problem in your garden, and it is harder to treat it, means it is harder to treat several colonies infesting several trees than treating one colony infesting a single tree.
Termites can be useful for agriculture
Termites are, truly, destructive and they cause a lot of damage either to your house or to your garden. But they were not created in the eco-system only to cause damage, they, also, have several advantages in agriculture. I mean, farmers don’t use termites to damage their trees, but in the natural biology, termites have a significant role in recycling bio material.
Termites are natural recyclers of cellulose eaten from wood or plants; they get it back to the soil as organic feces for the use of plants or animals. In this case, termites are good in the eco-system as they recycle dead wood and make it appropriate for the reuse.
Treating termites is necessary wherever they are, either inside the house or in the backyard garden. It is true that termites recycle wood and make it useful, but when a huge-scale colony infest a tree, it becomes a pest and it harms the tree until it kills it. There are many eligible ways to treat termites and you need to contact a pest control expert to help you identify your kind of infestation then gives you the best extermination plan.
Termites in Tree Stumps
Further Resources for Termites in Trees
- Termites Go Hungry on Resistant Trees – USDA Agricultural Research Service
- Termites and Cedar Timber – MyTermiteTreatmentCosts.com
- Subterranean and Other Termites – University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources
- Different Types of Tree Termites – MyTermiteTreatmentCosts.com
- Florida dampwood termites – University of Florida’s Featured Creatures
- Resins Rid Termites from Trees – CMU.edu