How many termite species are there in Australia?
Of around three hundred species of termite in Australia, only about twenty are of economic importance in there own regions.
There are 3 main groups of structural timber destroying termites in Australia:
Subterranean, Drywood, & Dampwood termites
Dampwood termites belong to the family Kalotermitidae. These termites live inside the wood they eat and are rarely encountered in domestic homes.
Subterranean termites (families Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae) are much more common in urban areas, usually live in the soil & randomly forage for wood to eat.
Below are pictures of termite soldier caste heads of the important species that attack building structures in Australia
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Differences between ants and termites
Picture of Microcerotermes Termites
Microcerotermes is a genus of termite that often builds distinctive arboreal nests made of carton material, although there are subterranean and mound building species as well. Their nests can be a common sight in coconut plantations, and seen attached to tree trunks in rural areas. There are about 22 species with a worldwide distribution.
They are small termites usually 0.5-0.7 cm long, and the soldiers are distinctive in having a rectangular head and relatively long, curved, mandibles with tiny serrated teeth on the inside half of the mandibles.
They usually feed on dead, fallen wood, and are not considered a threat to urban houses, while being a minor pest in some rural housing. A few species are considered pests in tree plantations and forestry, due to their ability to cause damage to living trees (and high numbers). Fallen and abandoned Microcerotermes nests are a common sight in certain localities; these serving as convenient refuge for many other life forms (like ants, beetles, and cockroaches) to take over.
There are 4 different castes of adults for Microcerotermes spp:
- Queen & King