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Knock Knock… Termites and vibration/knocking of timbers

Hungry-TermiteHave you ever wondered how termites, being mostly blind, know what they are about to start feeding on or when danger is near?

 

 

 

Termites use vibrations to sense there surroundings (and once known they can leave pheromone trails to pass on this information to the rest of the termites in the colony).

Vibrations are used in two main ways:-

Firstly they use vibrations to sound out the timber so they can determine the type and size of the timbers/food source available.

It is commonly believed that termites are voracious and indiscriminate feeders eating any wood that they come across, but in reality termites are selective feeders and choose their food very carefully.

The palatability of the wood species and hardness are critical as are defensive chemicals and oils produced by the plant. The way they determine types and size of timbers this is by gripping and pulling the wood fibres, the fibres snap and send a small impulse/vibration through the entire structure that they’re eating; those impulse/vibrations return to the termites and let them know what they’re eating.

And secondly they also use vibrations as a form of ‘Morse code’ to signify when there is danger nearby i.e. the mud tubes have been breached etc.

The way they do this is by tapping /knocking their heads on timbers, the workers then vacate the workings/mud tubes and head back to the nest or the nearest Bivouac or ‘halfway house’ until the threat of danger has diminished.

Please click here to listen to the sound they make when alarmed.

Written by Andy Clarkin, termite enthusiast.

If you want to know more, contact Conquer Termites on 30882100 or via email to info@conquertermites.com.au.

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