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What Animals Eat Termites?

Termites threaten properties, and homeowners typically, use insecticides to get rid of termite infestations. Termites are an old guard of insects originating in the Permian era. Very closely linked to cockroaches, they are extremely hard to eliminate.

Why is it a problem? Termites are small insects that consume vegetables and wood, which cause a lot of money in repair costs for many homeowners. The good news is that termites can be eaten by several insects, microorganisms, and vertebrates.

You can get rid of the termite infestation in your home by finding out the animals that eat termites and then placing them near the humble abode of the termites in your home.

So, you know how to get rid of the termites in your home quickly, but what animals do you need to find to eliminate the termite in your home? 

A juicy and scrumptious termite might not sound like the perfect snack, but it is precisely that for certain creatures. What are these creatures that eat termites?

Termites are generally found in drier environments, which are a critical food source for many insects and animals. They are rich in protein and fats and offer plenty of water as an add-on, making them a classic animal food in regions lacking other nutritional and water resources.

So, we know the type of regions where termite-eating animals are found, but what animals are these? These animals are detailed below.

First of all, why do I need to know the animals that eat termites?

You need to know the animals that eat termites because this will allow you to know which animals you can bring into your home or allow to stay there to eliminate the termite infestation in your home.

So what animals eat termites?

Below is a list of animals that eat termites. Like usual, this list is based on my experience in pest control, as there are MANY other animals that likely eat termites.

1. Birds

JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The termites are eaten by several bird species. More precisely, the Kookaburra is a major hunter of termites in the Southern California region.

Some birds directly attack the mound of termites to catch and eat their prey. They kill them putting their beaks inside the mound, calmly eating termites at the dining table. 

Once kookaburras are done eating, they will dislodge the homes of the termites and carry them with them to use as freshly built birdhouses.

Another species of bird that feeds on termites is the woodpecker. The popular depiction of a woodpecker nibbling away at trees is real and not just a cliché. Woodpeckers always look for several pests to eat, including termites, bees, and beetle larvae.

2. Ants

Fiktube, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ants are amongst the most common predators of termites. Sometimes, ants would invade and take over a whole colony of termites. Wood ants, legionary ants, and fire ants all feed on termites in the wood and chimney.

The carpenter ants often occupy captured termite colonies and are thus frequently falsely accused of damaging homes. However, this indicates that carpenter ants are a big killer of termites and can help you eliminate termite infestation in your home.

After the ants get rid of the termites in your home, you can also eliminate them. It may sound like an evil plan, but it is for your good.

3. Beetles

Luca.favorido, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beetles are another common predator of termites. Beetles generally have an insatiable appetite and devour anything they see, including termites.

Some beetles will burrow into the ground to find termites, while others will fly around looking for termites. Dung beetles, in particular, have been known to eat termites.

Additionally, the large parasitic ground beetle only feeds on termites and ants. It uses its mighty jaw to eat termites after attacking its nests while using its leg to push away any termites that attempt to fend it off.

Moreover, the beetle collects acids from termites that it can use to expel from its belly to protect itself against bigger predators.

4. Reptiles and amphibians

Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

To add to the woes of termites, we can add amphibians and reptiles to the list of natural predators that feed on them.

The skinks, agamid lizards, and giant monitor lizards can feed on termites in Kenya. In Australia, legless lizards, gooseberries, and geckos feast on termites.

Certain blind / worm snakes, like the eastern blind snake, may even take up residence in wood infested by termites to eat termites and their eggs whenever hungry. Lastly, as some termites can fly, frogs feed on them often.

5. Nematodes 

Agricultural Research Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The nematodes are of special interest in predators that feed on termites. This is because nematodes are they are microscopic organisms that kill termites from the inside out after infecting them.

Nematodes are so strong in poisoning termites that many soil termite control programs utilize them to counter the devastation termites can inflict in a garden.

Using these organisms in agriculture is a perfect example of how termites and the animals that eat them can benefit humans.

6. Mammals

Malene Thyssen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Termite predators don’t just exist above the ground, but they also live underneath it. Creatures such as moles and shrews will be interested in a meal if they come across a colony of termites.

Other native mammals which constantly look out for colonies of termites include the following:

Aardvarks 

Aardvarks are nocturnal animals that are native to Africa. They have long, pig-like snouts, and their bodies are covered in short, reddish-brown fur. Aardvarks weigh between 60 and 150 pounds and are approximately 3 to 5 feet long.

Aardvarks are the only known mammal that primarily feeds on termites. They use their long, sticky tongues to capture termites from their nests. Aardvarks consume up to 50,000 termites per night!

Anteaters 

Anteaters are mammals that are native to Central and South America. They have long snouts and tongues, and their bodies are covered in coarse hair.

Anteaters range in size from 2 to 8 feet long and weigh between 5 and 150 pounds. There are four different species of anteaters: the giant anteater, the silky anteater, the northern tamandua, and the southern tamandua. All four species feed primarily on ants and termites.

Armadillos 

Armadillos are small mammals that are native to the Americas. They have hard, protective shells that cover their bodies and range in size from 4 to 7 inches long.

There are nine different species of armadillo, including the three-banded armadillo, the six-banded armadillo, and the nine-banded armadillo. Armadillos feed on a variety of insects, including ants and termites.

Echidnas 

Echidnas are small mammals that are native to Australia and New Guinea. They have spines on their backs, and their bodies are covered in short fur.

Echidnas range in size from 10 to 20 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds. There are two species of echidna: the short-beaked echidna and the long-beaked echidna. Both species feed primarily on ants and termites.

Hedgehogs 

Hedgehogs are small mammals that are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have spines on their backs, and their bodies are covered in short fur. Hedgehogs range in size from 6 to 12 inches long and weigh between 1/2 a pound and 2 pounds.

There are 17 different species of hedgehog, including the European hedgehog, the African pygmy hedgehog, and the Indian long-eared hedgehog. Hedgehogs feed on a variety of insects, including ants and termites.

Skunks

While not the most common termite predator, skunks have been observed eating termites. These nocturnal animals are known to dig through the earth in search of food, and their diet includes grubs, beetles, earthworms, and, yes—termites.

Skunks are found in North and South America, with seven species inhabiting the United States. The most common skunk in North America is the striped skunk, which is black with a white stripe running down its back. Skunks range in size from 10 to 20 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds.

Primates

Some would be shocked to know that primates can also be added to the list of known termite hunters. These beloved animals were cogently observed using instruments to remove termites from a colony for a delicious treat.

7. Dwarf Mongoose 

© Hans Hillewaert

The tiniest species of mongoose, the dwarf mongoose, grows only to a maximum of seven to ten inches.

They generally live in groups of up to twenty of their kind and usually use various caves and termites to build their base.

Nonetheless, termite mounds are a beloved of theirs because they always provide sufficient settling space and food when needed.

The dwarf mongoose is also known to use small rocks and pieces of wood to smash open termite colonies so they can feast on the nutritious insects within.

8. Humpbacked flies

Ryan Hodnett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although they can be a potential problem themselves, humpback flies can help you eliminate the termites in your home.

Like fruit flies, except for a prominent hump on the abdomen, humpback flies lay their eggs in the bodies of termites and other big insects.

Although utilized as a biological agent of control for many prominent insects, humpback flies are yet to attain the status of a termite control method.

However, this needs to happen fast, considering how effective humpback flies are in getting rid of terminates at home and other places.

9. Dragonflies

Vijayanrajapuram, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dragonflies can be observed in their alate or aerial reproduction phase feeding on termites from mid-air.

The larvae of dragonflies reside in high-quality and fast-flowing water streams, inhaling through rear tracheal grills. Dragonfly poaching can impede the emergence of new termite colonies and their development.

10. Praying Mantis 

lost places from Deutschland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The next termite-eating animal on our list is the praying mantis. Praying mantises are very strongly linked to termites.

Mantises attack their victims by camouflaging themselves as part of the vegetation around them.

When released, praying mantises can be major predators of harvesting termites, but only outside of termite colonies.

Praying mantises will not enter colonies because they would be risking becoming prey themselves.

11. Wasps

IronChris, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While most wasps are known to be pests, there are some species that can actually help get rid of termites.

The Ichneumon wasp is a type of parasitic wasp that preys on termites. These wasps lay their eggs inside termites, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the termites from the inside out.

While most wasps are more of a nuisance than anything else, the Ichneumon wasp can actually be beneficial in controlling termite populations.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about termites

What are the signs of termites?

The most common signs of termites are: seeing winged termites flying around your home; finding termite droppings or wings on the ground; seeing mud tubes on the exterior of your home; and hearing a clicking or swarming sound near your home.

How do you get rid of termites?

There are a few ways to get rid of termites, including using pesticides, natural methods, or a combination of both.

Pesticides can be used to kill termites, but they must be applied correctly to be effective.

Natural methods include using bait stations or barriers made of diatomaceous earth or copper metal. These methods make the environment less hospitable for termites or kill them outright.

A combination of pesticides and natural methods is often the most effective way to eliminate termites.

Are termites harmful to humans?

While termites generally don’t pose a threat to humans, there are a few species of termites that can cause harm. Some species of termites can damage buildings and other structures, and some can even injure or kill people. However, the vast majority of termites do not pose a threat to humans.

How much does it cost to get rid of termites?

The cost of getting rid of termites varies depending on the method used. Pesticides can be relatively cheap, but natural methods can be more expensive. A combination of both is often the most effective way to get rid of termites. In general, the cost ranges from $100 to $1,000.

Can you treat a home for termites yourself?

Yes, you can treat a home for termites yourself using a combination of pesticides and natural methods. However, it is important to apply the pesticides correctly to be effective.

What kind of damage can termites do?

Termites can cause a lot of damage to homes and other structures. They can damage buildings and other structures by chewing through the wood and even injure or kill people. In general, termites do a lot of damage that can cost homeowners a lot of money to repair.