Also known as the wood eater.
Species commonly found in Singapore
1. Subterranean Termites, Coptotermes spp.
2. Drywood Termites
Termite’s life cycle is an incomplete metamorphosis. Termites have straight pointed beady antennas. They look quite like ants but are pale white to a pale yellow. A swarm of termites can appear to be darker colored, much like most species of ants. The reproductive adult termite’s pairs of wings is the same size.
Termites live in caste system which consist of reproductive, workers and soldiers. All three castes have different roles to play within the colony. The Queen has the longest life span, up to decades under ideal climate conditions, and the workers and soldiers live up to 2 years.
Interesting facts about termites
- Termites are important decomposers. They break down tough plant fibers, recycling dead & decaying trees into new soil.
- Due to some resemblance to ants, they are often called as “White Ants”.
- Termites are social insects. The queen lays eggs and workers find food and maintain the nest. Workers will share the food throughout the entire colony. This process is called trophollaxis.
- The best measure to manage termites is through baiting where the workers will then share the baits to the rest of the colony. Soldiers’ role is to ensure safety of the colony.
- When termite soldiers sense danger to the colony, they will sound the alarm by banging their heads against the gallery walls. This sends warning vibrations throughout the colony.
- They use pheromones for interactions and to control each other’s behavior. They leave scent trails to guide other workers using special glands on their chests.