The Incredible Edible Termite

After returning from a nine day short-term missions trip to Central America, my wife told me the story of an excursion they took to the highest mountain of Honduras to view some of the most incredible sights of character.

While enjoying a natural bird sanctuary, their native tour guide accidental a nest of termites hanging on a tree. He then craftily removed his handy machete and chopped it in half. The amused group looked on until, as to their horror, he reached down and picked up a scrambling termite, and ate it.

As you might expect, this drew mixed responses from the crowd including gagging, laughing, and heads nodding in disbelief. Embarrassed, the guide tried to regain the group’s respect and quipped, “Tastes like chicken!”… I don’t think it helped.

Well, thankfully, you won’t find one of these termite nests dangling from your neighbor’s tree over your character line here in the northeastern US. However, what you could find is already scarier–Subterranean Termites. These kinds of termites work under the cover of darkness–truly, more like–under houses!

The subject of termites seems to be taboo, unless of course, you or one of your neighbors has had them infest a structure. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” might apply. That is, until your walls look like they are moving from just the 1st wave of termite “swarms”. While they may be equivalent to an indoor hurricane, one should not panic, these guys are not the ones doing the damage; it’s the rest of their family you need to worry about: the workers–underground and in the structure. Bite by bite, they can literally “eat you out of house and home”. But don’t ever assume that everything that swarms inside a structure is a termite: many species of ants will swarm inside a home. A little while ago, a soon-to-be-client called me and insisted that he had termites in his country-club home. When I arrived, I had a hard time convincing him he did not need a termite job; he had a good swarm of Citronella Ants (named for their citronella-like odor). In the end, he was thankful for my honesty and became a routine general pest customer.

This leads me to my final piece worth noting: never assume someone is an expert on Wood Destroying Insects unless it’s what they do for a living. Not all wood damage is from termites. There are Carpenter Ants, Powder Post Beetles, and already Old House Borers. If any of these are suspected, it may be worth a second opinion. Just like you would not go to a podiatrist for advice about that nagging toothache, make sure you talk to someone in the Pest Control industry when it comes to Wood Destroying Insects or termite extermination. While some of us may be entertaining, I don’t think you will find us eating termites.

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