Termites are insects that feed on materials containing cellulose such as wood, furniture, and walls. These pests can destroy properties worth millions. Due to the difficulty associated with eliminating them, homeowners have resorted to the usage of insecticides. But that itself poses a health risk for homeowners. In this article, we’re going to cover what animals eat termites, and what are some termite predators. You might be wondering, what eats termites, well thankfully for homeowners, termites have quite a few predators!
Read our guide on how to kill termites from your home!
Fortunately, there are animals, insects, and microorganisms that feed on termites. All you have to do is get your hands on these animals and introduce them close to the nest of termites. Termites have natural predators which can be used to keep their population in check, so all you have to do is look around your home and pick out the possible predators of termites.
Animals That Eat Termites – Termite Predators
There are mammals that look for termites and feed on them. In some parts of the world, humans eat termites. They search for these termites and use them to prepare delicacies. In such a case, we can refer to humans as predators of termites.
Cats are also another option to keep termites under control. Cats can eat termites but should they choose not to eat termites, they can attack the colony and destroy them. Other animals that would likely eat termites are geckos and lizards. Let’s discuss some of them below.
When it comes to the subterranean termites that dwell in the soil, moles are animals that are a threat to them. Moles live underground as well and they feed on termites. These moles search for termites underground and devour the whole colony. Other underground creatures that eat termites are shrews.
These are dangerous predators of termites. Different kinds of birds feed on termites such as swifts, weavers, starlings, and swallows that catch flying insects and eat them. Birds scout for flying termites with their sharp eyesight and eat the whole swarm. Doves and coucals will capture a termite on the ground. Birds may not attack termite mounds but they will feed on those that come out of the nest.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles and amphibians are another set of predators that feast on termites. Many species of amphibians and lizards are on the lookout for termite nests to raid. Under this group of animals, we have snakes, lizards, and frogs. In countries like Kenya, we have the big monitor lizard, skinks, and agamid lizards which are known for eating termites. In Australia, there are animals like legless lizards, geckos, and lizards with frill necks. Frogs also feed on termites as they walk past or fly across. You’ll also find worm snakes that live underwood infested with termites. The snakes eat both termites and their eggs. With this, you can comprehend how hard it can be for termites to move from one place to another due to the presence of numerous predators.
Marsupials and Mammals
Depending on what part of the world you’re in, there are multiple marsupials and mammals that are naturally attracted to eating termites. In the cat family, civets and genets are known for eating termites. Other smaller animals that feed on termites include bats, mongooses, and numbats. Another animal that can eat termites is anteaters. Echidnas, anteaters, and aardvarks are fond of searching for termites to feed on. Some animals are also known to use their hands and toes to destroy termite nests and eat them.
Do Other Insects Feed On Termites?
The predators of termites are of different sizes. It would surprise you to know some of the dangerous predators are of the same species with them. In your home, there could be spiders and arachnids that will fish out termites and eat them.
Spiders are known to build webs to catch unsuspecting flying insects as they make their way across. In the absence of insects to feed on, the spider will leave the nest in search of food. When the spider comes in contact with the termites, it will bite and paralyze them. Although it’s not the most exciting thing to find out that spiders and termites are in your home, spiders can help you to reduce the population of termites.
Ants are a known sworn enemy of termites. Termites and ants share similar anatomy and taxonomy. Also, they have a similar behavioral pattern, as well as a colony with a queen, soldiers, and workers. Just the same way you are not comfortable with having spiders in your house, so do many homeowners feel about ants too. That’s because ants bring their own problems as well.
One good thing about ants is that they are persistent, combative, and will attack any termite colony they come across. Ants do not attack termites alone, they eat them too. Soldier ants attack the colonies with the only advantage in the termite colony on the side soldier termites. This is because termites cannot see and the battle is always in the favor of the ants. Soldier ants can destroy an entire termite colony faster than spiders.
In the forest, the threats from Insects on termites are very high. Crickets can feed on worker termites who are outside of the nest scouting for food. The same thing applies to ladybugs, beetles, and scorpions. The praying mantis which is a close relative of termites also feeds on them. Some additional kinds of insects that feed on flying termites include wasps, bees, and dragonflies.
Natural Termite Predators As a Pest Control Method
Termites are not easy to control and keep in check at home. Having natural predators that can feed on them will help to keep their population under control. The most surprising predators of all are the insects that feed on termites. The most dangerous among them are ants. Soldier ants find it easier to enter into the termite mound and get into a duel with them. No matter where termites hide, ants can locate them and conquer the colony. The wide array of predators makes controlling termites easier and safer.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on what animals eat termites, and I hope it provides a bit more context on the natural ecosystem happening outside your home. View our other termite resources.