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]....

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Evans, T. A. (2010). Rapid elimination of field colonies of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) using bistrifluron solid bait pellets. Journal of Economic Entomology, 103, 423–432.  https://doi.org/10.1603/EC09067.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Evans, T. A., & Iqbal, N. (2014). Termite (order Blattodea, infraorder Isoptera) baiting 20 years after commercial release. Pest Management Science, 71, 897–906.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.3913.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Holt, J. A., & Lepage, M. (2000). Termites and soil properties. In T. Abe, E. D. Bignell, & M. Higashi (Eds.), Termites: Evolution, sociality, symbioses, ecology (pp. 389–407). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    La Fage, J. P., & Nutting, W. L. (1978). Nutrient dynamics of termites. In M. V. Brian (Ed.), Production ecology of ants and termites (pp. 165–232). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Randall, M., & Doody, T. C. (1934). Ground treatment. In C. A. Kofoid (Ed.), Termites and termite control (pp. 502–513). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rust, M., & Su, N. Y. (2012). Managing social insects of urban importance. Annual Review of Entomology, 57, 355–375.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100634.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Su, N. Y. (1994). Field evaluation of a hexaflumuron bait for population suppression of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 87, 389–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Su, N. Y. (2007). Hermetically sealed baits for subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 100, 475–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Su, N. Y. (2019). Development of baits for management of subterranean termites. Annual Review of Entomology, 64, 115–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Su, N. Y., & Scheffrahn, R. H. (1988). Foraging population and territory of the Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in an urban environment. Sociobiology, 14, 353–359.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Su, N. Y., & Scheffrahn, R. H. (1998). A review of subterranean termite control practices and prospects for integrated pest management programs. Integrated Pest Management Review, 3, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sukartana, P., Sumarni, G., & Broadbent, S. (2009). Evaluation of chlorfluazuron in controlling the subterranean termite Coptotermes curvignathus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Indonesia. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 21, 13–18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

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