Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hungry House Guests

We had some extremely unwelcome house guests this week.  Here is a picture of some of our visitors.  Do you recognize them??

I'll give you a hint -- these creatures have insatiable appetites and are lovers of darkness.  They only come to the light once a year when "swarming."  

Yes, these disgusting creatures are Termites!   :(

It is a terrible feeling to know that your house is being devoured right under your feet!!  (I have begged Taylor to walk softly!)   The obvious good news is that we don't OWN this house!!  Nevertheless, it is disconcerting to know these creatures are munching away at the structure 24-7!

This is an example of what we've learned to call "God's Classroom" --  which is when God allows circumstances to come up that interrupt our regularly scheduled programming, and cause us to want to research and learn more about a specific topic that has impacted our lives.   We have all googled "termites" and pored over pictures of these loathsome insects and read descriptions of their destructive deeds.  During my research, I discovered some fascinating facts about these calamitous creatures, which I want to share with you.  

Did you know that:

1.  Termites love darkness and hate the light.

Termites build nests that totally block out the light.  If a nest is broken open, termites become confused when exposed, and will frantically flee from the light!

They even build tunnels across foundations, so they can travel to and from the nest in total darkness.  The only time termites are attracted to the light is during the spring when they swarm.  This is when they leave their dark nests in search of a mate.  They choose a mate and start a new colony, and then live out the rest of their lives in complete darkness.

This reminds me of the unbelieving masses who love their sin too much to repent and turn to God.  John 3:20 says, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."   As Christians we are instructed to " . . . have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."  -- Ephesians 5:11.

2.  Most termites are completely blind.

Only termite kings and queens have eyes, which they use to guide them when they establish new nests.  A queen may grow up to 4 inches long when swollen with eggs, yet her eyes are no larger than a pin head and practically useless.

"But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!  (Matthew 6:23)

The vast majority of termites are soldiers or workers, which lack eyes all together.

In the same way, the vast majority of people on the earth are blind to the truth of the gospel and their need of a Savior, for the prince of darkness " . . . hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."  (John 12:40)

3.  Termites destroy the inside and leave the outer shell alone.

Millions of dollars of damage occurs each year due to termite infestations, yet most of the destruction occurs before homeowners are even aware they have a problem.  Termites consume only the inner parts or heart of a structure, leaving the outward appearance unchanged.

This reminds me of Jesus' words to the religious hypocrites of his day -- "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." -- Matthew 23:27-28 NKJV

4.  Termites are prolific, but vulnerable.

A king and queen mate for life, which may be as long as ten years.  During that time, a queen lays from 4,000 to 30,000 eggs a day!!   While termites are among the most prolific insects on the earth, they are easily destroyed.

The termite body is soft and unprotected, and extremely susceptible to heat, cold, and dryness.  If the temperature or moisture of the nest varies more than 10%, the skin of the termite shrivels up within a few hours.  To maintain a constant temperature in the nest, Termites build elaborate ducts that "air condition" their nests.

Jesus warned, " . . . but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."   (Luke 13:3)  He also said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it."  (Matthew 7:13)  

5.  Termites must be totally destroyed, or they will re-establish the nest.

Once termites enter a home, every single one must be destroyed, or they will re-establish the nest and continue their destruction.  Therefore, every inch of a house must be treated to insure that every single termite is killed.  If any termites are left, they will start laying eggs again, and will resume the destruction.

Just as one termite can rebuild a colony, a little bit of leaven (yeast) leavens a whole lump of dough, which is why "Jesus said to them, 'Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.' "  (Matthew 16:6)   It just takes a tiny amount of sin to destroy a person's soul.

6.  Termites have an insatiable appetite.

Termites are rarely satisfied.  They are always hungry and will eat almost anything from trees to books to chair legs to fence posts to floor joists.  Because of their insatiable appetite, it is estimated that they destroy as much property as fire.

This reminds me of 1 Peter 5:8:  "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 

When it comes to termites . . . and to sin . . . we can never be too vigilant!!


Rebecca's Refining said...

Sorry about your invasion! I am so glad you are only renting your home! :)

You have found some very interesting information, probably more than you ever cared to know before! Modern technology does have its advantages! (Do you remember having to research in those old, hard to read and understand encyclopedias mom and dad had??Where was the internet back then??)

However, it is so neat how you have been able to make some great spiritual applications to this inconvenient and unpleasant circumstance! We often learn life changing, Biblical truths when in "God's classroom"!

One quality we could really learn from those critters is to have that insatiable appetite... for the Word of God! :)

karen said...

Oh, Elizabeth! That was wonderful! These are my favorite stories ... comparing the spiritual and physical worlds (well ... guess you know that, though teehee).
We've seen two swarms in the last week. One was from the huge tree that fell in our backyard. Oh, how I panicked and tried to kill, kill, kill those bugs as fast as I could. All I could think was how those thousands of bugs that were flying off into our neighborhood represented colonies upon colonies of termites that would destroy home after home.
Then, walking Anna home from school yesterday, we saw another swarm emerging from the ground. I alerted the homeowner and she told me that they were coming from a place where a tree once stood. Evidently, they had found a home in the root ... underground. Eggs had been laid, babies born and now they were emerging. (More great parallels there!)
I've never seen termites like this before. It's been a neat thing ... but a "yukky" thing as well.
Does your landlord know? Do you think that he knew before now? I hope he's concerned and has someone take care of it soon.

Donna G. said...

How awful! Do you have to leave the house for it to be treated? I, too, am glad you're in a rental.

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