The Insect Larvae That Paralyze Termites Before Killing Them In Their Own Nests
Termites are not intimidating insects on their own, but if you let them lose within a house, destruction results. Unfortunately many homeowners have learned this the hard way. In the United States, the western subterranean termite often infests homes in California and neighboring states. Many homeowners have suffered due to these destructive termites. However, it may make many termite infestation victims happy to know that there is an insect out there that invades western subterranean termite nests in order to kill these termites in a brutal fashion. Surprisingly these specialized termite killers are only dangerous to termites during their larval stage. These obscure larval insects are known as lomamyia latipennis, and they belong to the Neuroptera order of insects. This order of insects includes the well known green lacewing species. Despite their tiny size this species of larva hunts and kills termites that are thirty times their size.
Female lomamyia lay their eggs on termite-infested stalks of wood. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl into tunnels within the infested wood in order to locate termite nesting sites. Once located, the larvae make a termite nesting site into their own home. The subterranean termites accept their new roommates, but the larvae are constantly on guard around the termites. The termites remain unintimidated by the larvae due to the fact they weigh no more than a single grain of sand. The larvae eventually approach individual termites in order to release a poisonous gas that renders the termites paralyzed. After the termites frantically move their legs about while lying on their backs defenseless, the termite eventually becomes fully paralyzed for a period of four hours.
An older larva can paralyze six different adult termites with one gassing. Once the termites are completely motionless, a larva will drain a termite’s body of fluids with its piercing mouthparts. This occurs while the termite slowly dies as a result of the larval feeding frenzy. This peculiar gas secretion has been found to immobilize termites only, as other social insects remain unharmed by this larval species. It seems that this particular form of larva is designed by nature for the sole purpose of torturing and killing western subterranean termites.
Have you ever heard of another form of insect larva that is specialized to hunt and feed on termites?
Tags: Kill Termites, Termite Control