Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher Starr

Termites as Structural Pests

  • Nan-Yao SuEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_127-1

Wood fibers, made up mostly of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, are the most abundant products of photosynthesis [4]. Due to its stability, wood is widely used in human-made structures, furniture, and other belongings. Among multicellular animals, termites possess the very rare capability of cellulose digestion so that they serve as important decomposers of dead plant matter. Most termites contribute to nutrient turnover in the soil [3], but some become pests when they feed on wooden structures. The worldwide cost for termite control and damage repair was estimated at $40 million in 2010 [6]. Of the over 3000 known termite species, only ~2.6% (or 79 species) are considered serious pests [6]. For practical control purposes, termite pests can be divided into two major groups, drywood termites and subterranean termites.

Drywood Termites

Of the 79 species that are considered serious pests, 13 are drywood termites (Kalotermitidae), which account for 20% of the economic impact [6]....

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology & Nematology, Ft. Lauderdale Research & Education CenterUniversity of FloridaFt. LauderdaleUSA