Animals that Eat Termites

Animals that Eat Termites

A nice, juicy termite may not sound like the ideal snack food, but for some creatures that is exactly what’s on the menu.

Termites are often found in drier climates, and are a vital food source for a variety of animals and other insects. They are high in fats and proteins, and as a bonus, they contain a lot of water. This makes them a quintessential food for animals in areas that lack other sources of nutrition and moisture.

Because termite colonies exist year-round, they offer the perfect pit stop for animals in places like Australia, where the climate can be harsh and make other food options scarce.

So what eats termites?

The answer may surprise you. Termite swarms – comprised of winged reproductive alates in flight toward new territory – often fall prey to winged animals. This includes bats, swallows, certain species of owl and even grain-eating birds like the dove. Some birds only eat termites in flight. Other species follow them to the ground, consuming them there as well. In areas where large numbers of alates have landed, these birds find a ready supply of food. Alates break off their wings as soon as they touch ground, making them the perfect, crawling targets.

Once grounded, a termite also becomes a treat for small animals, including certain types of mongooses, aardvarks and anteaters. They are also sought out as a meal by other small mammals, some reptiles and certain species of spiders and ants.

In addition to being easy prey, termites are consumed by the indigenous people of some countries, such as the Aboriginal people of Australia. Many of these groups also use termites in medicinal treatments and as a dietary supplement. Moreover, the termite mound offers a strong heat source when burned due to the cellulose stored inside.

Regardless of what eats termites, you do not want these pests in or near your home. If you suspect you have a termite problem, call Terminix® for a free inspection.

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What Animals Eat Termites?

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Termites, little wood- and vegetable-eating insects, constitute an important food source to many creatures. More than 2,750 species of termites inhabit the globe, endemic to certain countries or otherwise. Only 10 percent of termite species are known as pests. They live in highest abundance within tropical rain forests, where natural termite colonies fall prey to a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders and mammals.

Termites Defined

Two different types of termites, subterranean and dry wood, appear as light yellow to black antlike insects. Soft termite bodies have equally wide segmented bodies with hairlike antennae, an undefined waists and, in some cases, wings. They live in organized colonies where division of labor consists of reproductive, soldier and worker termites. Baby termites or nymphs can develop into any of the three labor groups. Most termite colonies help the environment by converting plant cellulose into recycled eco-friendly substances and as food sources for a variety of animals.

Mammals and Marsupials

Many animals eat termites, including humans. Swarming termites often leave the nest in early evening, which permits opportunistic predatory behavior from animals within the vicinity. Genets and civets, members of the cat family, have been seen eating termites. Also, other smaller animals such as mongooses, bats and numbats eat termites. Underground creatures such as moles and shrews will eat termites if they happen upon them. Echinidnas, aardvarks and anteaters actively search for termites to eat, and primates have been seen using tools to extract termites. In certain areas of Africa, termites are a popular human food source.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Other animals that take advantage of termite swarms include lizards, frogs and snakes. In Kenya the giant monitor lizard, agamid lizards and skinks have been seen feasting on termites. Geckos, frill-necked lizards and legless lizards feed on termites in Australia. Some blind/worm snakes, such as the eastern blind snake, will live directly under termite-inhabited wood to grab termites and termite eggs as they get hungry. As termites fly in the air, any type of frog nearby will grab them as food.

Insects, Sp >

Ants are serious predators of termites. Six types of ants actively prey on termites. Since ants and termites have similar widespread colonies, it is inevitable that battles will arise. Other insects that eat termites include beetles, flies and wasps. Spiders catch and eat flying termites in their webs; assassin bugs break into termite mounds, stab them and inject them with toxin. Nematodes, unsegmented roundworms, invade termite bodies and kill them.

Hundreds of different birds make meals of termites. When termites swarm, speedy sparrows, swallows, swifts, starlings and weavers will fly to catch them as food. Doves, spotted eagle owls, coucals and chickens will pursue a termite meal on the ground. Even storks will take advantage of a termite swarm if stomachs are empty. Birds may not be able to invade termite mounds, but they can snatch up every one that crawls out.

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What are the predators of termites?

In our line of work, we’ve seen just about everything you can imagine. This includes termites and the devastating damages they leave in their wake. Termites are a destructive pest that can cause thousands of dollars in damages to your home and property.

Natural Predators of Termites

It’s estimated that there are between two and ten termite colonies per acre of land in Arizona. With up to 2,000 termites in each colony, it’s easy to see how quickly they can become a major problem. While it’s our job to rid your home of these destructive creatures, we do get some help from mother nature as well.

There are a wide variety of natural predators when it comes to termites. From insects and reptiles to mammals and birds, termites are in a constant struggle to survive. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common predators of termites.

There are hundreds of different species of birds that love to make a meal out of termites. Some of the most well-known avian predators include:

  • Chickens
  • Doves
  • Red-Headed Woodpecker
  • Sparrows
  • Spotted Eagle Owls
  • Starlings
  • Swifts
  • Weavers

Spiders & Other Insects

Spiders can use their inherent abilities to catch termites in flight. With a well-placed web, arachnids will enjoy a full meal more often than not. Some of the lesser-known predators of termites include:

  • Ants
  • Assassin bugs
  • Beetles
  • Flies
  • Spiders
  • Unsegmented roundworms
  • Wasps

Perhaps one of the biggest predators of termites is the ant. There are six different species of ants that will actively seek out and prey on termites. Ants live similarly to termites, utilizing widespread colonies to further their survival. Because of this, raging battles between ants and termites are not uncommon.

Reptiles and Amphibians

As if termites didn’t have enough to worry about, reptiles and amphibians are also on the list of natural predators. Some species of these animals have also been known to take advantage of a tasty swarm of termites. These animals include:

Predators of termites don’t just live above ground. Creatures like moles and shrews will certainly help themselves to a meal should they stumble upon a termite colony. Other mammals who actively search for colonies of termites include:

Some may be surprised to learn that primates can also be included on the list of natural predators of termites. These beloved creatures have been observed intelligently using tools to extract termites from a colony for a tasty snack.

Arizona’s Trusted Termite Professionals

For over 25 years, Budget Brothers Termite and Pest Elimination has been serving our friends and neighbors in the Phoenix Valley with comprehensive termite services. We take pride in a job well done and have worked hard to earn our esteemed reputation in the area.

As the leading choice for termite inspection, prevention, and exclusion, you can be sure your home is in good hands! If you have spotted the signs of termites in or around your home in Arizona, don’t wait for the natural predators of termites to rescue you. We can help!

Contact Budget Brothers today to find out more about our termite services and other pest control options.

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What animals eat termites?

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Answer Wiki

WHAT ANIMALS EAT TERMITES?

By Keri Gardner

Mammals and Marsupials

Many animals eat termites, including humans. Swarming termites often leave the nest in early evening, which permits opportunistic predatory behavior from animals within the vicinity. Genets and civets, members of the cat family, have been seen eating termites. Also, other smaller animals such as mongooses, bats and numbats eat termites. Underground creatures such as moles and shrews will eat termites if they happen upon them. Echinidnas, aardvarks and anteaters actively search for termites to eat, and primates have been seen using tools to extract termites. In certain areas of Africa, termites are a popular human food source.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Other animals that take advantage of termite swarms include lizards, frogs and snakes. In Kenya the giant monitor lizard, agamid lizards and skinks have been seen feasting on termites. Geckos, frill-necked lizards and legless lizards feed on termites in Australia. Some blind/worm snakes, such as the eastern blind snake, will live directly under termite-inhabited wood to grab termites and termite eggs as they get hungry. As termites fly in the air, any type of frog nearby will grab them as food.

Insects, Spiders and Nematodes

Ants are serious predators of termites. Six types of ants actively prey on termites. Since ants and termites have similar widespread colonies, it is inevitable that battles will arise. Other insects that eat termites include beetles, flies and wasps. Spiders catch and eat flying termites in their webs; assassin bugs break into termite mounds, stab them and inject them with toxin. Nematodes, unsegmented roundworms, invade termite bodies and kill them.

Hundreds of different birds make meals of termites. When termites swarm, speedy sparrows, swallows, swifts, starlings and weavers will fly to catch them as food. Doves, spotted eagle owls, coucals and chickens will pursue a termite meal on the ground. Even storks will take advantage of a termite swarm if stomachs are empty. Birds may not be able to invade termite mounds, but they can snatch up every one that crawls out.

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10 Termite-Eating Animals

Termites are little vegetable and wood eating insects that cause thousands of dollars in repair costs for many homeowners in Australia, particularly in Sydney.

Fortunately, the possibilities of at least minimising these costs is available by contacting a company that provides building pest inspection in Sydney. Seeking help from building pest inspections company can minimise repair costs and increase safety because they have the right knowledge on how to detect and treat pest infestations.

Termites are pests people abhor. However, some culture may have been treating termites as food and of course, some animals do eat them.

Allow us to present 10 termite-eating animals.

1) Red-Headed Woodpecker

The classic portrayal of a woodpecker pecking away at trees is more than just a cliche. In all actuality, they are busily searching for a variety of pests such as beetle larvae, ants and termites.

2) Egyptian goose (Alopochen Aegyptiacus)

During the spring season, young winged termites emerge from their main nest, flying in large swarms in the hopes of seeking a new home and potential mates. The Egyptian goose is a type of waterbird that feeds on the swarming termites during this season.

3) Bats

Whenever people think of bats, they usually think that their diet solely consists of fruits and nuts. However, you may be surprised at some of the things that it eats such as mosquitoes, blood, and the nectar of flowers. Their diet also consists of termites.

4) Oogpister Beetle

This large predatory ground beetle preys exclusively on ants and termites. Whenever it storms a termite nest, it utilizes its powerful jaw to gooble them up as it uses its leg to kick away any termites that try to ward it off. Additionally, the beetle extracts acids from termites which it can use to spray from its abdomen in an attempt to defend itself from larger predators.

5) Nematodes

Nematodes are particularly interesting. They are microscopic worms that essentially, infect termites and eat them from the inside out. They are so effective at infecting termites, that many subterranean termite control programs utilize these worms to combat the damages that termites can cause on a garden.

6) Spiders

Spiders enjoy a diet of termites as well. They are usually able to trap swarmers (alates) that have been caught in its web.

7) Carpenter Ant

While it may not seem like it at first glance, ants are listed as being one of the major competitors and predators of termites. In fact, there are actually 6 species of ants that actively hunt and eat termites. One of which is the carpenter ant.

8) Dwarf Mongoose

Dwarf mongoose is the smallest of the mongoose species and grows to a maximum length of 7-10 inches. They typically live in social groups of up to 20 individuals and usually establishes their base using numerous caves and termite mounds. However, termite mounds are a favorite due to the fact that it provides when with adequate rooming space and food as well.

9) Armadillo

Armadillos have very little body fat and have low metabolic rates. Due to this fact, they prefer to live in warm climate zones such as the rain forest and dessert. It’s diet consists of worms, grubs and beetles, but its favorite foods include ants and termites. Their strong legs and sharp front claws help them to burrow deep into a termite mound as to which it uses its long tongue to extract the termites.

10) Anteater

Anteaters are edentate animals, which means that they have no teeth. However,what they do have is a long tongue that is more than sufficient to consume 35,000 ants and termites each day. The anteater utilizes its sharp claws to rip an opening into a termite mound as to which it sticks its tongue in. Its tongue has the ability to flicker up to 160 times per minute, which helps to destabilize the mound as well as to scoop up as many termites as it can. Interestingly enough, an anteater never destroys a whole termite mound, but prefers to return and feed again at a later time.

Bonus

Did you know that humans selectively eat termites as a delicious treat? In fact, some countries even treat them as a delicacy. In the Luhya community of Western Kenya, they are considered a delicacy, a good source of income and a rich source of protein as well. On occasion, you can find a wide selection of fried insects, including termites, within the local markets during the dry season.

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What Eats Termites?

People who are interested in natural or organic termite control often are interested in what are natural predators of termites.

What Animals Eat Termites?

Quite a few different types of lizards and snakes have been observed eating termites through out the world. In Africa large monitor lizards, skinks, and agamid lizards have been observed eating termites from their colonies. In Australia legless lizards, frill necked lizards, and geckos eat termites. And some snakes who lie in proximity to termite infested wood will consume a few termites or termite eggs when the opportunity arrises.

Amphibians

Frogs and newts will grab termites from the air or from under a rotten log.

Many types of bird will opportunistically nab up both flying termites as well as termites crawling around on exposed ground. Here is a list of just some that have been seen doing so.

  • Spotted Eagle Owls
  • Coucals
  • Chickens
  • Doves
  • Storks

Certain mammals love to eat termites and actively seek them out while others will munch on them when the opportunity arrises.

Anteaters, aardvarks, and echinidnas are amongst the animals that actively hunt termites. Bats will snag up termite swarmers from the air and shrews and moles will snack on termites when they encounter them underground.

According to PBS, just one Bat Eat Fox can even use their huge ears to locate and devour around around 1.5 million termites per year! And all this by hearing the tiny termites gnawing on grass. Check out PBS’s article to learn more.

Yep, you read it right. Humans also enjoy some termites from time to time. And we are not just talking prehistoric humanoid who ate termites… More people on this planet still enjoy some termites for a snack or main course meal to this day.

Particularly in some places in Africa, termites still play a major source of food. Certain people have even developed a custom around getting the termites out of the ground and the preparation of them for eating.

What Other Insects or Bugs Eat Termites?

Ants are probably one of the major competitors and predators of termites. There are six species of ants that will actively hunt termites and eat them. One such species is the carpenter ant.

Carpenter ants cannot live in the same area as a termite colony without waging war. They essentially would be competing for the same resource… the wood that is their food. So for the purposes of natural termite control carpenter ants would be a terrible choice because they would destroy the termite colony and then start feeding on the cellulose containing material that the termites were feeding on prior to their extermination. You would replace one wood eating insect with another. Bad idea.

In fact, there have been several cases of unfortunate home owners who had both termite colonies and carpenter ant colonies under the same roof. If one colony is significantly larger than another, they will most likely destroy the other. However if they are both “evenly matched” so to speak, they may end up destroying a large portion of your home during their competition for wood.

Spiders will eat nearly anything that gets caught in their webs and this includes winged termites. Winged termites swarmers are typically the only type of termite that gets eaten by the majority of spiders since they easily get caught in a spiders web. Spiders may eat a few of these here and there but not in significant enough numbers to be considered anything remotely close to termite control.

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