Do Termites Lives Matter?

You probably think I’ve recareered as an entomologist with my musings about cockroaches and now termites. Perhaps, it is the monsoon which has driven me into the mad,mad world of insects. For the most part, I like bugs, like lady bugs, butterflies, dragon flies, and honey bees to name a few. On the other hand, scorpions and termites are on my detest list. (When I lived in Ohio, Japanese beetles were also on my nuke list.)

But this week, I discovered termites in a wooden beam on my patio. From English, to French, to Spanish I swore every awful word I could remember. WTH? Damn termites. I made my painter boy garage mates come and look, and they removed all the molding around the beam. They confirmed my suspicion. “Damn it, Sue. You’ve got termites.”

I wrung my hands. “Damn it! What am I supposed to do now?”

They stared at me like I was from outer space; I knew they thought I was being a blonde–bottled blonde, that is. “Call an exterminator. I think they’re pretty pricey, and they may have to drill holes in your wall.” Visions of dollar signs danced in my head.

This revelation drove my research into the life of termites. These ancient creatures are blind, and live in colonies, similar to ants. There are workers and soldiers who are sterile. One male, the king, is not, and he mates with the queen for life. The life span of a queen can be from 30-50 years long. (A long time to be popping out eggs.) Of course, just like cockroaches, termite lives do matter in an ecological sense, as they decompose dung and vegetative debris. In many countries, they are considered a delicacy for consumption by both humans and livestock and adapted for medicinal uses.

Yesterday, the termite inspector arrived to determine treatment options. Who knew exterminators had a bureaucracy too? “Sue, you don’t have termites.” He paused. “You have dry rot.”


“You obviously have a roof leak. It could also be on the inside of the wall, so you need to call a roofer, as soon as possible.”

Yeah, right. Good luck with that–a roofer during the monsoon. So, now I’m standing in line, awaiting a visit from my roofer, as the storm clouds form overhead, the wind rages, and the lightening skips across the sky. And to all the termites roaming our planet, my apologies. Just stay out of my territory. Thank you.

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