Species category: Subterranean Termites
Scientific Name: Isoptera
Family: 4 family groups represented in Malaysia:
- Coptotermes curvignathus
- Coptotermes gestroi
- Globitermes suphurishus
- Macrotermes gilvus
Termites are social insects, working and living together in groups and each colony contains several types (castes). The castes differ in body shape and behaviour and each performs different tasks. The castes are identified as:
- Soldiers - distinguished by their heavily armoured and pigmented heads
|The Worker Caste dominate the colony population, they are wingless, sterile and blind. Their primary role is to build the nest, tend the eggs and young, and gather the food. They also feed other castes incapable of feeding themselves.
||The Soldier Caste is also wingless, sterile and blind. There are 2 types, Mandibulate with prominent jaws and the Nasute with a pronounced snout. Their primary function is defence and their mandibles are so modified that they cannot feed themselves.
The Reproductive Caste has eyes, a functional reproductive system and wings. In tropical countries, their swarming activities (leaving the colony) usually begin at dusk after a rainfall. After swarming (sometimes called the nuptial or mating flight), they seek out a suitable place to form a new colony. The king alters little in shape but the queen’s abdomen becomes enormously distended with eggs.
Over 170 species of termites are available nationwide.
Subterranean termites like soil and tend to build their nests underground. Some species can also create mounds that go above ground level (Macrotermes & Globitermes). Mature colonies may number more than 4 million individuals. For some species, the queens are capable of laying more than 2000 eggs per day. Termite colonies may exist for as long as 50 years.
A silent destroyer, they can cause serious structural damage to buildings and significant damage to crops. Their ability to conceal themselves provides the necessary time to do considerable damage before they are discovered.