Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Termites in Dead Trees

by Donna L. Watkins

I was on a forum to list a local classified ad and saw a post about trees. Being a tree lover, I had to click. One of the posts mentioned they had two dead oaks cut down and they were "infested with termites." I don't know if they thought that the termites killed the tree or what, but termites eat decaying wood, they are a huge part of the reason our forest floors are not piled high with fallen trees.

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins - Termites During Swarming Cycle of Life
Termites in dead trees are a good thing. Wouldn't you rather give them a table to eat outside of your home? Another reason to leave dead trees in your yard. More reasons mentioned below.

We've lived on wooded property since 1990 and have never had our house sprayed for termite protection. Our last home we built and since we put enough down on the mortgage we didn't need termite coverage for the loan. Here at Lake Monticello I doubt the builder did anything before selling it to us in 2000 and we've not had it done.

Yes, we do inspect. They're easy to detect if you look for the signs. Here's a great article on How To Inspect Your Home For Termites by a professional.

Now ... when we lived in suburbia, we tried that same theory (because I had chemical allergies and didn't want the asthma). We had termite problems and then needed treatment and repair. Obviously there wasn't an alternative dinner table for the termites on a street with only the customary 1-2 "decorator" trees on the front lawn.

There's also a lot of wildlife that eats termites: spiders and bugs, most species of birds, small lizards and skinks and even snakes. Nature provides a great array of termite inspectors and eaters.

Nature loves to balance itself out if we leave it alone, because when you remove one thing (the trees), you only upset the apple cart on another problem.

An example is one year when we had cottony scale. Before we "did something about it" we had a surprise. It's incredibly humbling to realize how little I know about the natural world around me. It sure has a lot of life lessons to teach me.

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