Does sunlight kill termites?
A reader e-mailed in this question:
"I think I have termites on my roof and near my chimney but my landlord says
this is impossible because they can't live outside and die from sunlight. I
can't find anything about this. Help me!"
Yes, this is at least partially true.
Worker termites die
when exposed to sunlight or the open air because they need the
moisture of their colony.
This is the reason why they
build little mud tunnels - so that they can travel from wood to
wood without being exposed and dying.
However, that doesn't mean you
couldn't have a colony on your roof. It just means the workers would have to
stay inside the wood. There are also some termites that can live outside the
colony and in the sun, specifically the swarming reproductives that fly around
to found a new colony. If you see them wandering around outside on the roof,
though, your landlord is probably right. But that doesn't mean you're out of
the woods - it means you probably have carpenter ants instead, a pest that
also be damaging. Carpenter ants look a lot like termites, but they do not use
the mud tunnels and they often establish colonies that are above and outside
the wood as well. They usually don't cause as much damage as termites, but if
you get a large enough colony going it can still undermine the structure of
your home. Carpenter ants require different treatment from termites, and often
the exterminator will focus on eliminating the nests specifically rather than
treating the home in general.
If you have a question about termites you want answered,
submit it here.
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