Termites

History Of Termites

Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Termites were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recentphylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches during the Jurassic or Triassic. However, it is possible the first termites emerged during the Permian or even the Carboniferous. Approximately 3,106 species are currently described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are often called whiteants, they are not ants.

Like ants and some bees and wasps, which are in the separate order Hymenoptera, termites divide labour among castes that consist of sterile male and female “workers” and “soldiers”. All termite colonies have fertile males called “kings” and one or more fertile females called “queens”. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material and cellulose, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. Termites are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.

Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except for Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a couple of hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. Termite queens also have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens living up to 50 years. Each individual termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis which, unlike the complete metamorphosis.

Found in ants, proceeds through egg, nymph and adult stages. Colonies are described as superorganisms because the termites form part of a self-regulating entity: the colony itself.
Termites play a vital role in the ecosystem by recycling waste material such as dead wood, faeces and plants. Termites are a delicacy in the diet of some human cultures and are used in many traditional medicines. However, several hundred species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Some species, such as the West Indian drywood termite (Cryptotermes brevis), are regarded as invasive species, having been introduced to countries to which they are not native.

Detection

Although you may not always see direct evidence of a termite infestation, that doesn’t mean you should not be concerned about getting an infestation. There are signs that you can look for that are great indicators whether or not you have an infestation. Sagging floors, holes in wood work, and hollow parts of the foundation of your house are all indicators of a termite infestation. Be vigilant about these signs and you can catch it early saving yourself time, money, and the headache of replacing everything that has been destroyed by termites.