It sounds like the hypothesis for a middle school science fair project – do termites eat wood faster or slower depending on what music is playing? Back in the 60’s, scientists tested and discovered that certain plants grow better and taller when music was played. In that case, classical did the trick while rock and roll caused many plants to wither. Maybe that’s why our parents thought rock music would rot our brains?
In the case of termites, however, rock and roll makes them more active. One study showed they devour up to twice as much wood when rock and roll is playing than they do otherwise. And there’s a very scientific reason behind it.
Giving Off Good Vibrations
The more we study insects the more interesting we find the detailed and specific way they were created. While some bugs work off sight or smell, termites have their own approach. You see, termites use vibrations to determine the type of wood around them. They’re born knowing what kind of wood is the best food source – although they probably don’t think in terms of poplar, oak and cedar.
Termites can also use vibrations as a sort of sonar, like bats. In addition to determining types of wood, they also can “see” sizes of wood sections. Some drywood termites favor smaller wood portions to avoid competition.
Plus, termites use vibrations to communicate warnings. They will “bang their heads” when perceiving a threat, drawing other termites to defend their nest and feeding area.
Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart
So how does rock music figure in? Like any sound, music has certain frequencies. Not to get too technical, but each instrument has a specific frequency and combined instruments exhibit a modified frequency. Something played on the piano alone will have a different vibrational wave than if performed by a whole symphony.
Modern pop music tends to be dominated by keyboard-oriented songs. At least since the 80’s. Rock music is usually the power trio – drums, bass, and electric guitar. Add the vocals and most rock music lands between 600 and 3000 Hertz.
A study by Australian researchers in 2004 found that termites favored wood that resonated with 2800 Hertz. In fact, termites will swarm to wood in this vibration range, not even looking for other food sources until the one they’re eating’s frenzy is over. The scientists refer to this as the “cocktail party effect.”
Rock and Roll All Night
And the partying doesn’t stop. Termites literally eat constantly. From birth to death, they don’t sleep, they don’t rest – they JUST EAT. Late at night you can even sometimes hear them in the walls munching away.
Which is why it’s so important to call the pest control cops if you think termites might be partying at your home. Especially here in Florida where every home is at risk for termites – and termites do billions of dollars of damage to homes every year. We prepare and buy insurance for hurricanes but homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage.
The good news is, there is a solution. Our Term Assure 365 combines our popular Green Perimeter Plus coverage with world-class termite protection. We perform a thorough inspection for termites and look for any potential entry points around your home or evidence of tunneling.
We then install termite monitoring stations and check those every time we come out to your home. Our solution even comes with a $1-million damage warranty. We offer a free one-time inspection for existing home owners as well as an affordable pre-check before you buy. Termites are no joke. To schedule your free home inspection or inquire how to add Term Assure to your existing service, just give us a call!