If you think termites and cockroaches have little to do with each other, you better reconsider. The taxonomy of termites has been recently updated by the Entomological Society of America (ESA). As a result, the termite order Isoptera has been merged with the cockroach order Blattodea.
It’s a crazy development, but one that’s been coming for some time.
A History of Ties
Way back in 1934, researchers were curious about how microbes in the guts of termites are also in cockroaches but can’t be found in other pests. That wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that the two were related.
Thanks to DNA evidence uncovered in 2007, we knew that termites are actually a branch of the cockroach family tree. A report suggested that termites are highly similar to a type of cockroach which tunnels into wood.
Even more recent research shows that termites diverged from cockroaches about 150 million years in the past.
Even though they’re now family, these two pests are anything but copies of each other. Besides the obvious gap in their appearances, termites and cockroaches have some other interesting differences:
- Cockroaches are omnivorous or will eat plant or animal matter. Termites, of course, live off wood alone.
For the most part, cockroaches are solitary creatures. A complex social structure exists in termite colonies, somewhat like ants, with a king and queen, soldiers, and workers all in the mix.
Now that termites and cockroaches are considered family, what changes for the average person? Not much. They’re both pests you don’t want anywhere near your house, and they’ll keep their names. The shift is one that entomologists and others who work with insects will notice.
No matter how they’re classified scientifically, termites are a problem in any property. Their destructive habits can leave crucial structural elements in shambles, racking up huge repair costs.
Before anyone buys or sells a property, they should get a professional termite inspection. For sellers, catching and correcting a termite infestation and any damage can help ensure the sale goes through without problems. Buyers are wise to get the inspection, allowing them to avoid buying a property with dangerous and expensive problems lurking below the surface.
Here at Cramer Pest Control, our technicians have advanced methods for detecting the presence of these dreaded pests. If it turns out the structure does have a termite problem, we can walk you through what to do next.
Contact Cramer Pest Control to schedule a termite inspection.