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How Do Termites Process Wood in St Louis, and How Can We Control Them?

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By Chuck Richardson
Researchers, scientists, pest control experts, and pretty much anyone who's heard of a termite knows that termites eat wood.  Well, technically, they eat the cellulose in the wood, but that's not important.  The important thing to us today is, how do these guys digest it?  There must be a way that these homewreckers turn hard, fibrous wood into digestible content that sustains them as they burrow deeper and deeper into your St. Louis home.

The process begins with a community of very unique microbes that live in the guts of the termite.  They are truly a community, and every one has a part to play in a complex, multi-step process.  One of the known steps involves using hydrogen to turn carbon dioxide into organic carbon, which is called actogenesis, but it isn't known what microbes do exactly what.  However, California Institute of Technology, (Caltech) has discovered a bacterium, previously unidentified, that lives on the surface of a larger microorganism in this microbe community.  This newly discovered neighbor may be the cause of actogenesis.

"In the termite gut, you have several hundred different species of microbes that live within a millimeter of one another. We know certain microbes are present in the gut, and we know microbes are responsible for certain functions, but until now, we didn't have a good way of knowing which microbes are doing what," says Jared Leadbetter, professor of environmental microbiology at Caltech, where much of the research was performed. He is also an author of a paper about the work published the week of September 16 in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

This important discovery may lead to new ways to combat Termites in your home, as a better understanding of the issues involved in the process of digesting your home may give rise to new ways to treat at-risk wood and building materials, that may be able to repel these home-invading insects at the source, before they can do permanent damage to your home.

For more information on how to remove termites from your St. Louis home, visit today and call (314) 297-2210 or 636-387-2400 to make an appointment with a St. Louis Pest Control Expert.

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Unwanted guests are always nuisances. Unwanted pests are downright bothersome. If you have animals invading your attic or critters crawling where they shouldn’t be, contact Richardson Pest Solutions. We are members of the National Pest Management Association, and have been a family-owned and family-operated business since 1972. Please contact us today for free inspections and estimates. We’re available Monday through Saturday and we’re ready to serve you. Certified Applicator License #10018


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