Termite Mounds: Features and How to Destroy Termite Mounds

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Termite Mounds: Features and How to Destroy Termite Mounds

Termite Control




August 9, 2019


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Majority of the people who live in the northern hemisphere have seen termite mounds in films or cartoons. Those are gigantic towers of clay and soil, hanging over the surrounding Savannah. It is true that some termites do erect only intended forests on the earth’s surface.

Mould-building termites

For example, the major reason why US citizens have only seen moulds on a screen is because they don’t inhabit this part of the world. So, where do termites nest? They live in:

  1. Africa.
  2. Australia.
  3. South America.

However, you may well face Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood termites in North America, Europe and Asia and areas who settle underground, in dry and damp wood, accordingly. Find out more about other species – eastern subterranean and formosan termites.

What is a termite Mound/nest?

A termite mound is a structure built on an underground. astonishingly termite nest that can reach 16.4 feet in height, 10 feet in diameter, and 12 tons in weight, and serves as a home to one or even two million individuals.
It turns from a small knob of earth into a huge column during many years and it grows throughout many generations of its colony

What is a termite mound structure?

A mound may have a conic, mushroom-like or elongated shape. 8-12 inches. thick walls of the building are soaked in viscous secretion so that they become waterproof and resistant to flooding, though the walls may often be perforated to let the air in.

READ ALSO: How To Prevent Termites by Using Preventive Products or Naturally

You can see myriads of sinuous tunnels inside of it, interconnecting numerous galleries. Not only are those tunnels intended for letting the inhabitants move from one place to another , but also for providing water supply, drainage and ventilation.

Even the underground termite nest, which can be meters deep in the ground, is connected to the rest of the mound with shafts. because they, and especially their queen, are susceptible to air humidity all this intricate system allows the inhabitants to easily moisten and cool the air down.

Below the surface 6-12 inches there’s the nest, glued over with paper-like substance, there larvae grow. Beside the nest are egg cells and the queen herself lies in her “room” under the nest, from where workers carry newborn larvae.

So the workers enlarge the room progressively as she grows cause the queen is “trapped” there for life. There are warehouses with forage – masticated wood and grass under the Queen’s chamber. While the upper parts of the cone are occupied with fungus farms, which are fed to larvae. Termites dig passes from the mound to the nearest sources of the supplies in order to get more food and water easily and safely

What does a termite mound look like? See pictures below:

Termite Mounds

Termite Mounds

Termite mound ventilation system

Now let’s move to termite mounds ventilation system which is another interesting topic.

Ventilation is one of the most exciting things about termite constructions . Scientists were thinking that when wind blows over a mound, that it changes the pressure, and can lead to CO2 suction from the interior.
Yet, recent researches have claimed that this hypothesis is disproved. In reality, because of day-night temperature oscillations changes are used to drive air similar to how lungs do. As sunlight warms the mound’s outer walls during the day, the air inside warms, causing it to rise.

READ ALSO: Termites damage & treatment in Iowa

Because the walls are quite solid it makes it unable to escape quickly, so it streams “downstairs” through the central chimney. As the exterior cools at night, the airflow reverses, from the central part of the mound it pulls the air up.

The result is that while CO2 concentrations during the day can reach up to 4 or 5 percent in the center of the mound, airflow at night pulls the gas to the exterior walls, where it can escape by diffusing through the walls.

Functions of termite mound

These are the functions a termite mound carries out in sum:

  1. Protection from predators, sunshine and rain.
  2. Warehouse.
  3. Birthing unit.
  4. Fungus greenhouse.

How they build the termite mound?

Although, it doesn’t “grow” exactly since the mound is not a tree, . It can take a century to build a really big one because it’s elaborately built of sand, clay, wooden chips and saliva by millions of termite workers.

At that, every individual is preprogrammed to fulfill its obligations so that their labor resulted in a mound since they have none of chief architects, master plans or blue prints.

This is how they do it:

  1. A viscous concoction of salivary secretion and grinded wood is mixed by a worker.
  2. Grains of this concoction stick together and solidify.
  3. A column of these grains is made by a worker.
  4. When the column is high enough, a worker checks if there’s a higher column around. If there is, it leaves its column and starts working on the higher one.
  5. When the column becomes even higher, the worker looks if there’s a column nearby that can be connected to its column. If not, it leaves its column and looks for a suitable one nearby. If there is a suitable column nearby, it connects its column to this suitable one with a crosspiece.
  6. Repeat.

READ ALSO: Termites Damage & Treatment in Texas

Other castes beside workers don’t take part in building. (soldiers can’t even feed themselves) so soldiers and swarmers simply don’t fit for this purpose. And as for locations, termites tend to start building in well-drained areas.

How to destroy a termite mound?

It may not be easy to break down termite mounds since they are quite sturdy. Hit them with a hoe, a shovel or a pick. It is also recommended by some specialists about dispersing the clayed dirt with a rototiller or another mechanism. In attempt to eliminate the vermin the most reckless termite use exterminators!

However, you should keep in mind that the queen and part of the collective will remain underground even if you demolish the underground termite mound, and they’ll rapidly restore what you’ve made disappear.

Sometimes it only takes them days to build a new one if the queen and a significant part of the collective are intact! Of course, it would be hard for them to rebuild a century old mound as high as two grown-up men so quickly, but still. So, to get rid of termites, their queens and their popping up mounds once and for all you will have to use either insecticide or baited traps.

Helpful video showing inside a termite mound:


All in all, mound-building termites are not a threat to you and your house if you don’t live in Australia, Africa or South America, . However, if you still do, not only should you destroy the visible part of the “iceberg”, but also eradicate what lies beneath.

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