I write to you in fear as there is an irrefutable threat to our homes and way of life. The Queen is capable of such destruction that I can only hope heeding my warning will minimize the damage ahead. I am NOT referring to Queen Cersei or Queen Daenerys. My fear is of Queen Isoptera of House Rotting, First of Her Name, Ruler of Formosa, Destroyer of Homes, Breaker of Joists. Her reign is tyrannical and her only objective is to destroy every home in Westeros. Her ancestors have wreaked havoc across the world for millions of years. They have vanished more wood than fire. This Queen does not attack with the fire of three full grown dragons. Her army consists of billions of tiny dragons most of us will never see. They will destroy far more homes than high flying dragons that you can see coming from miles away. By the time you realize they have attacked, the damage will have already been done. The invasion is imminent.
Disclaimer: Readers whom are not familiar with Game of Thrones may not understand some of the references in this article. However they may still enjoy reading for informational purposes. I have put all GOT references in italics so as not to confuse you.
Termites aren’t quite little dragons. They look like little white ants, some having wings. The way they feast on wood will make you wish your house was ironborn. Studies suggest that termites have been around for somewhere between 47 and 60 million years. They live in colonies much like the people of The Seven Kingdoms. They have kings, queens, workers, and soldiers. The only difference being that in the termite kingdom, all the workers and soldiers are Unsullied or sterile. The royal termites capable of reproduction have wings. They mingle on their nuptial flights, or swarms, and pair up with their mate. This is what we experience every year in the spring when termites are swarming around our lights and coming in our windows. Don’t fear yet. These termites are not going to eat through your wood. Once they find a mate, they burrow into moist soil establishing their new chambers and crowning themselves king and queen. Now it’s time to worry. They begin to mate creating workers whose job is to feed the king and queen. These are the ones you will find in your wood. They do not have wings and their responsibilities include gathering food and maintaining the nest. The workers can later moult into soldiers or even royalty. Termite queens have the longest life span of any insect in the world living up to 50 years. All together, they are arguably the most successful reigning insect group on Earth, occupying six of the seven kingdoms (continents).
How do I know if I am under attack?
This is what makes termites so dangerous. There is no way of knowing you are under attack until after the damage is done. You will never see the worker termites that stay in the wood and near the nest in the ground. The termites that moult into royalty will grow wings and try to leave the nest to find a mate. So if you see termites with wings outside of swarming, it could be the sign of a colony. But if royal termites have moulted, then many workers have previously moulted and have been feeding the nest for some time. Other signs of termite damage are hollow wood or mud tubes.
What do I do if Queen Isoptera (Termites) has attacked?
If the Queen’s army has attacked, you know she is nearby. She must be destroyed. There are three main weapons that have proven useful in defeating the Queen’s army. You can use bait traps that provide poison disguised as food which the workers will take back to the nest. You simply stake these into the ground around the infected area. You can buy liquid chemicals to spray and saturate the ground around an infected area. These chemicals kill by contact. There are aerosol poisons for use inside if the invasion has reached inside your home.
There are a few natural options. Wet cardboard can be used as a trap. Place the wet cardboard near an infected area. When you see the termites starting to eat the cardboard, remove it and burn it. But this will not kill the Queen, only her soldiers which she will quickly replace.
The sun will also kill termites. This is useful if they have gotten into furniture. Simply take the furniture outside and place it in the sun. UV lights may work when sunlight is not an option.
Parasitic nematodes are a great natural option if you can find them. They are worms that find termites as tasty as termites find wood.
How do I prepare for the Queen’s invasion?
Remove all wood from around the outside of your house such as firewood, yard debris, or mulch. If possible, make sure there is no wood that connects the ground to your house such as lattice. Put a barrier of sand around your home. Termites struggle to move through sand. Do anything you can to prevent moisture from building up under your home. This is big problem with midtown houses. Make sure your gutters are draining rain water away from your house. Check under your house for plumbing leaks. Regularly inspect all wood in your home. The sooner you are aware of an invasion, the sooner you can stop it and minimize the damage. The weapons used to defeat the Queen can also be used as a line of defense. Place bait traps around the outside of your home. If a colony is formed around a trap, it won’t last long. Spray chemicals approved for termite control under and around your home at least once a year. Be thorough as termites are good at hiding.
I don’t want to fight. Is there an army for hire?
If you choose to go the route of The Golden Company, there are many options. I’m sure you see pest control commercials all the time. Just realize that you will probably pay double for something you could do yourself.
Is there any way to ensure protection from the Queen?
This is a hard question to answer. You can get a termite bond on your home. A pest control company will inspect your home to determine whether there are any infestations and whether they think your home is a safe bet for them to insure. If you past inspection, they will treat your home once a year and replace any damage in the event of an invasion. The only problem is that many bond holders have had a hard time getting the insuring pest control companies to pay. Be sure you use a pest control company who always pays his debt.