Termite Control, How To Kill Termites eBook

Oplan Termites

Oplan Termites

You Might Start Missing Your Termites After Kickin'em Out. After All, They Have Been Your Roommates For Quite A While. Enraged With How The Termites Have Eaten Up Your Antique Furniture? Can't Wait To Have Them Exterminated Completely From The Face Of The Earth? Fret Not. We Will Tell You How To Get Rid Of Them From Your House At Least. If Not From The Face The Earth.

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Termite Extermination Information

Termites create great damage to your home, which is why you should identify and eliminate them as quickly as they appear. This eBook Oplan Termites teaches you how to solve your termite problem once and for all. Learn how to identify termites, find out if your house is really infested, and eradicate them. Discover Some Of The Most Effective And Time-Proven Methods To Get Rid Of Termites! Learn Some Mean Ways To Really Get Rid Of These Pests From Every Nook And Corner Of Your Home.

Termite Extermination Information Overview


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Termite Controlmanagement

Before termites in structures can be treated, the extent of the infestation must be assessed. Visual searching and probing of wood are the dominant means of inspection. However, the efficacy of visual searches is questionable, because structures have inaccessible areas. Several nonvisual detection methods are used, including electronic stethoscopes, dogs, methane gas detectors, and microwave and acoustic emission devices, but each of these technologies has some limitations. For subterranean termites, wood-baited monitoring stations can identify the presence and delimit the extent of colonies. Some species of subterranean termite have colonies as large as several million individuals, and these forage over an area of more than 10,000 m2. Other termite species have much smaller colonies and forage within areas of only a few square meters. There is considerable debate about the methods and accuracy in reporting termite numbers and foraging behavior. Termite control is most regulated in...

Important Families Of Termites

The earliest known fossil termites date to the Cretaceous, about 130 mya. There are > 2600 species of termites worldwide. Undoubtedly, more will be recognized with improved methods of discerning cryptic species and after intensive collecting of tropical and remote regions. Termites are most closely related to cockroaches and mantids. The greatest continental termite diversity is in Africa, where there are over 1000 species. Polar continents have none, and North America with 50 species and Europe with 10 species are intermediate in termite diversity. Termite families traditionally were categorized as lower or higher. However, this categorization may change soon as newer classification systems are adopted. Lower termites (families Mastotermitidae, Kalotermitidae, Termopsidae, Hodotermitidae, Rhinotermitidae, and Serritermitidae) have symbiotic intestinal protozoa and bacteria. Higher termites (Termitidae) have intestinal bacteria. Termite identification at the family and genus level...

Termite Biology And Ecology

Termites live in colonies that are social and can be long-lived. Colonies are composed of castes that conduct all tasks for survival (Figs. 1, 2, and 3). Some termite queens are larger than the length of a human thumb and can lay more than a thousand eggs per day. The king is also long-lived and mates intermittently to provide sperm to the queen. Some of the longest living insects are termites some termite mounds and their queens are thought to be more than 70 years old and Termites are herbivores, fungivores (i.e., plant or fungus feeders), and humivores (soil feeders). They feed on cellulose, directly from plants, dead or alive, or indirectly from fungus arising from decaying plant material within mounds. Plants are made of cellulose, a polysaccharide that is composed of glucose units. The traditional view is that termites rely on intestinal gut microorganisms for cellulose digestion. However, there is growing evidence that termites also use their own enzymes for cellulose...

Isoptera Termites

Termites are a highly regarded food throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They are eaten raw, fried, or roasted and are found widely in village markets. The fungus-growing termites of the genus Macrotermes (family Termitidae) are the most widely used as food. Winged termites are a rich source of fat analysis of M. subhyalinus in Angola yielded an energy value of 613 kcal 100 g and M. falciger in Zimbabwe a value of 761 kcal 100 g on an ash-free basis. Protein and fat content of the latter were shown to be 41.8 and 44.3 , respectively, on a dry weight basis. In addition to the winged adults, soldier termites are also eaten. The high regard in which winged termites are held in Zambia has been documented by Silow in 1983 and appears typical for other countries in Africa The Mbunda, Nikangala, Lucazi, Luvale, Cokwe, and Yauma generally agree that the meat of Macrotermes spp. winged sexuals is better than meat of animals, birds, or fish. Perhaps one or another of the edible caterpillars is...

Termites As Pests

Some termites are destructive feeders and consume homes, other wooden structures, and agricultural crops. In some regions of the world, tunneling by termites damages dams, which then results in flooding. Worldwide, several billion dollars is spent annually for the control and repair of damage caused by termites. In the United States alone, over 1 billion is spent annually for termite control and damage repairs. Globally, subterranean termites (Rhinotermitidae genera Reticulitermes, Coptotermes, Heterotermes, and Psammotermes) are the most responsible for the control and damage costs. Dry-wood termites (Kalotermitidae genera Incisitermes and Cryptotermes) have lesser importance as structural pests and are more prevalent in coastal, arid, or semiarid regions. Termites as agricultural pests are confined primarily to the Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. The major pest species belong to the genera Microtermes, Macrotermes, and Odontotermes (Termitidae) in Africa and...

Interaction Of Living Things With The Environment

It is not only chemical changes that are wrought, but also physical ones, from the temperature of Earth to the form of our landscape. The temperature of Earth's surface is strongly affected by plants' ability to remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that prevents radiation of heat energy from Earth into space. Bacteria in the gut of termites have been found to be responsible for the release of methane gas, another greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere. Trees, grasses, and other plants reduce soil erosion, affecting the shape of the landscape.

The Ecological Context

By their photosynthetic activity, plants play a fundamental role in the carbon cycle, introducing carbon into the food web. Microorganisms are also crucial. It is estimated that algae and cyanobacteria are responsible for 40 of the carbon fixed by photosynthesis on Earth. At the other end of the process, wood-decaying fungi release approximately 85 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year as carbon dioxide. Termites also play an important role in global carbon cycling (hence, potentially, in global climate change) through their production of methane. Earth's nitrogen cycle is dependent on bacteria for nitrogen fixation and the release of nitrogen by denitrification. The microbial community thus controls the amount of nitrogen available to an ecosystem, determining ecosystem productivity in areas where nitrogen is limiting. By absorbing water from soils or other surrounding media, plants have a fundamental effect on the water cycle.

Castes In The Worker Force Morphological Castes

Discrete worker morphology In all termites and in approximately 10 of ant species, workers exhibit developmental allometry resulting in body shape variation within the worker caste. Interestingly, this type of morphological caste has not been documented in social insects with flying workers, such as bees and wasps. There is typically some association between a worker's body form and the tasks that she performs. One of the most common types of morphological specialization is the assignment of large workers, called soldiers, to the special role of colony defense. When the colony is threatened by an animal, the soldiers advance and attack, while other workers flee. Often the soldiers uniquely possess heavily armored exoskeletons and some type of weaponry, including enlarged muscular heads, long, piercing mouthparts, or glands that produce defensive chemicals. In other cases, worker body shape variation affects the performance of more mundane tasks such as food collection. In army ants...

Effect Of Microbes On Human Health

Higher organisms evolved in a microbial world. From the perspective of microorganisms, plants and animals represent another environment to colonize. Thus, it is not surprising that humans, as well as other animals and plants, have a diverse community of microbes living on and in them. Some of these passengers are normal, beneficial, or even necessary (e.g., rhizobia in some plants cellulose degraders in animals such as termites and ruminants), whereas others are abnormal, harmful, or even fatal.

Invertebrate Effects On Fungal Community Structure

The mutualism between Macrotermitinae and Termitomyces species, in which the former cultivate the latter within their nests, is even more dramatic. Termitomyces species are poor competitors and are rapidly over-run if the termites abandon the nest, but are maintained in the fungus comb in active nests in more or less pure culture, despite continual inoculation with other fungi on plant material collected by the termites (Wood and Thomas, 1989 Shinzato et al., 2005). Passage through worker guts reduces germination of non-mutualistic symbiont spores, oral secretions are fungistatic, and nest microclimate (30 C and elevated CO2) is optimal for the fungal symbiont. There also seems to be genetic screening of Termitomyces strains, either directly via active selection by the termite or indirectly by intra-specific competition on the fungus comb, as evidenced by identical fungal molecular sequences in multiple samples from four different nests of species that have horizontal symbiont...

Effects On Invertebrate Behaviour

Effects on termites are particularly well documented (see references in Swift and Boddy, 1984 Su, 2005). Mycelium of brown-rot fungi (Chapter 2), wood decomposed by them and extractives from such wood are often attractive to termites, and VOCs can stimulate termites to eat more sound wood and build more galleries. White-rot fungi and white-rotted wood are often unattractive and even toxic to termites, though P. ostreatus was attractive. White-rot fungal mycelia are, however, attractive to other arthropods. For example, fungus gnats (Bradysia Sciaridae) are highly attracted to and oviposit in interaction zones of mating incompatible mycelia of Stereum spp. and Phlebia spp. (Boddy et al., 1983 Figure 2a). Collembola are also attracted to and preferentially graze in interaction zones between mycelia growing from woody resources into soil (Figure 2b). These regions are presumably more palatable and leak nutrients, and VOCs are upregulated (Hynes et al., 2007). Sciarids and phorids...

Improvement Of Nutritional Environment For Invertebrates

Ingested enzymes, from the fungus, also play an important role in the digestion of plant litter in siricid wood wasp, fungus-growing termite and fungus-growing ant mutualisms (Martin, 1992). Cellulose and hemicellulose are digested during passage through the alimentary tract, predominantly the midgut of Sirex spp. larvae, and by the termite and attine ant workers. These acquired enzymes survive gut passage and, in the case of the ants and termites, are concentrated in the faecal droplet which is deposited on fresh plant material (Martin, 1992 Ronhede et al., 2004). This prepares plant material for fungal colonization and increases the initial growth. Basidiomycota also render palatable wood and leaf litter that is initially repellent or unpalatable to invertebrates due to the presence of allelopathic compounds. Again there are well-documented examples for termites (see references in Swift and Boddy, 1984). There are several examples of trees whose central heartwood is resistant to...

Digestion Of Carbohydrates

Although cellulose is abundant in plants, most plant-feeding insects, such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, do not use it. Cellulose is a nonramified chain of glucose units linked by P-1,4 bonds (Fig. 1C) arranged in a crystalline structure that is difficult to disrupt. Thus, cellulose digestion is unlikely to be advantageous to an insect that can meet its dietary requirements using more easily digested food constituents. The cellulase activity found in some plant feeders facilitates the access of digestive enzymes to the plant cells ingested by the insects. True cellulose digestion is restricted to insects that have, as a rule, nutritionally poor diets, as exemplified by termites, woodroaches, and cerambycid and scarabaeid beetles. There is growing evidence that insects secrete enzymes able to hydrolyze crystalline cellulose, challenging the longstanding belief that microbial symbionts are necessary for cellulose digestion. The end products of cellulase action are glucose and...

Digestive Physiology Overview

Isoptera Termites are derived from and are more adapted than wood roaches in dealing with refractory materials such as wood and humus. Associated with this specialization, they lost the crop and midgut ceca and enlarged their hindgut structures (Fig. 2D). Termites digest cellulose with their own cellulase, and the products pass from the midgut into the hindgut, where they are converted into acetate and butyrate by hindgut bacteria as in wood roaches. Symbiotic bacteria are also responsible for nitrogen fixation in hindgut, resulting in bacterial protein. This is incorporated into the termite body mass after being expelled in feces by one individual and being ingested and digested by another. This explains the ability of termites to develop successfully in diets very poor in protein. midgut, which has three rows of ceca (Fig. 2F), with a ventral groove between the middle and posterior row. The alkalinity of gut contents increase to almost pH 12 along the midgut ventral groove. This...

Division of Labor in Insect Societies

Division of labor is one of the defining characteristics of the most extreme form of sociality in the animal kingdom, eusociality. Eusociality is defined by three traits (1) cooperative care of young by members of the same colony, (2) an overlap of at least two generations of adults in the same colony, and (3) division of labor for reproduction, with (more or less) sterile individuals working on behalf of fecund colony members. It is now recognized by many biologists that eusociality extends to taxa beyond the ants, bees, wasps (Hymenoptera), and termites (Isoptera). This article focuses on the societies of the classic social insects, particularly the Hymenoptera, because they have the most elaborate and well-studied systems of division of labor.

Division Of Labor For Reproduction

Females dominate the functioning of insect societies, even in termite societies, in which males play more diverse roles than in hymenopteran societies. There are two types of females in an insect society, queens and workers. Queens specialize in reproduction and may lay up to several thousand worker eggs per day. Workers are either completely or partially sterile, engage in little if any personal reproduction, and perform all tasks related to colony growth and maintenance. Worker sterility occurs because the ovaries do not develop or because critical steps in oogenesis do not occur. Worker sterility occurs either during preadult stages or during adulthood.

Orthoptera Grasshoppers Locusts Katydids Crickets

Grasshoppers and locusts are included among the foods of almost every culture having any history of using insects as food. In southern Africa, before there were crops to protect, the arrival of a locust swarm, some of which were dense enough to block out the sun, was hailed with rejoicing as a time of harvest. Villagers collected them in the evenings after the swarms had alighted and were benumbed by the cool of the night. The locusts were roasted or boiled or, when plentiful, dried and crushed in mortars to make a much appreciated flour. Sometimes the flour or porridge was mixed with honey to make a sort of cake. Early reports noted that indigenous populations with access either to these vast locust swarms or to winged termites soon grew visibly fatter and in better condition than before. Grasshoppers were also an important food of Indian tribes in western North America. Various methods of harvest were used, but, most frequently, the grasshoppers were encircled by a number of people...

Insect Communities On Grasslands

Per square meter), whereas arid and semiarid steppe and desert soils, dominated by microfauna such as protozoans and nematodes, may have a biomass of only 1 g m2. Tropical grasslands and tundra tend to be somewhere in-between. Termites and ants are dominant groups in tropical and subtropical grasslands, some surface-dwelling predatory arachnids such as scorpions and solifugids are restricted to warm, arid soils, and cold tolerance limits the range of many species in arctic and antarctic conditions. The ways in which insect communities of grasslands are influenced will be the subject of the remainder of this article.

Herbivoreplant Interactions

In temperate grasslands, the below-ground standing crop of insects is 2 to 10 times greater than the aboveground insect mass, although the effects of below-ground insects remain largely unseen, unless scarabeid beetle larvae or nematodes cause heavy decreases in shoot growth or even kill grass over large areas. In a latitudinal gradient across North American grasslands, root-to-shoot ratios vary from 2 1 to 13 1, with high values in cooler climates tropical grasslands have even lower ratios (0.2 1 to 2.6 1). As can be expected from these data, the soil fauna is less abundant in tropical savannas and forests compared to temperate ecosystems. Earthworms usually dominate the soil biomass, but in the tropics, termites and ants are particularly important. These below-ground species can be a key in nutrient dynamics determining plant growth and aboveground plant insect interactions.

Novel Contrasts in Biological Samples

In VPSEM GSEI of various poorly or nonconductive samples, a novel contrast relating to charge behavior in the sample, termed charge contrast imaging (CCI), has been observed (16). The contrasts relate to lattice-scale properties of the sample that affects charge transfer and electron emission in the near-surface region of the sample. The CCI images have been found to relate closely to CL imaging in many material samples. In some instances, the sample data evident by CCI is unique (17). Additional novel GSEI contrasts have been observed. One example is the patterning seen on a termite leg that evidences either a thin secretion or bacterial presence (see Fig. 8). The contrast in this example appears similar to those seen and discussed for fluid mixtures, for example, oil-water emulsions (18). These novel contrasts are seen in GSEI under specific operating conditions that relate to the sample and instrument. CCI is dynamic and they are visible only within a 'window' of operating...

Variable Pressure Vpsem Applications Robust Samples

A gaseous secondary electron image of an as-collected termite leg. The dark patterning is thought to be a coating or a secretion. The contrast revealing its presence is a result by variable charge behavior on the surface (charge contrast). Fig. 8. A gaseous secondary electron image of an as-collected termite leg. The dark patterning is thought to be a coating or a secretion. The contrast revealing its presence is a result by variable charge behavior on the surface (charge contrast).

Homeostasis Behavioral

Behavioral homeostasis refers to mechanisms of behavior that allow an insect or group of insects to maintain conditions within a certain range of values. These conditions may be the temperature of the body or the environment, internal water balance or environmental humidity, nutritional state or food stores, the balance between different activities of the individual or of the group, or the number and composition of individuals in a group. Behavioral mechanisms of homeostasis are important to individual insects, whether solitary individuals or part of a group, and include such nearly universal behaviors as feeding and drinking, as well as behavior concerned with thermoregulation and habitat choice. This article, though, is mostly concerned with homeostasis in groups of insects, such as the colonies of bees, wasps, ants, and termites. Individual behavioral homeostasis in physiological regulation, thermoregulation, and habitat choice are covered elsewhere in this encyclopedia.

Environmental Regulation By Groups Of Insects

Insects are relatively small animals, with high surface-to-volume ratios. Because of this, they readily lose body heat or water to the environment (or gain heat if the ambient temperature is high). However, a few species of insects form large groups that are able to exert some control over these processes. The most striking examples of this come from the social insects (the wasps, ants, bees, and termites), but some other insects also form groups that enhance homeostasis (Fig. 1).

Microbial associations with animals

Termites are insects belonging to the order Isoptera that are found particularly in tropical regions. Their famous ability to destroy trees and wooden structures such as buildings and furniture is due to a resident population of flagellated protozoans in their hindgut, which are able to break down cellulose. Termites lack the enzymes necessary to do this, and would thus starve to death if the protozoans were not present. In return, they are able to provide the anaerobic conditions required by the protozoans to ferment the cellulose to acetate, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The acetate is then utilised as a carbon source by the termites themselves. In addition to the protozoans, anaerobic bacteria resident in the hindgut also play an important role in the metabolism of the termites. Acetogenic and methanogenic species compete for the carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced by the protozoans. The former contribute more acetate for the termite to use, whilst the latter produce significant...

Testing of new biocides

If the physico-chemical properties like stability and solubility as well as ectotoxicological and toxicological data justify further examinations, threshold values for the effectiveness of the product against wood-destroying insects are determined. Methods often used are EN 46 (European Standard EN 46, 1990), in which the preventive action against recently hatched larvae of Hylotrupes bajulus (Linnaeus ) is determined, and EN 117 (European Standard EN 117, 1990) . In the last mentioned test, toxic values against termites like Heterotermes indicola and Reticulitermes santonensis are established without and after ageing of impregnated wood.

Diversity Of Insectivory

Lizards, more so than snakes, include insects in the diet. Consumption of insects also occurs in other reptiles such as turtles and juvenile crocodilians. Insect prey selected by lizards is somewhat size dependent smaller lizards consume more small insects, whereas larger lizards can also consume larger insects. Some lizards that are insectivores as juveniles become more herbivorous as adults. In snakes, smaller insectivores become more carnivorous as they get larger, focusing on other vertebrate prey, especially mammals, frogs, and other snakes. Among some groups of lizards and snakes, specialization for insectivory is a familiar pattern in these instances, ants and termites are most frequently consumed. Mammals include many insectivorous groups, some gen-eralists and others obligate specialists. Most of those that specialize in eating insects eat either ants or termites. Generalized insectivores will eat insects along with other arthropods such as centipedes, millipedes, spiders,...

Anatomical Specializations For Insectivory

TABLE I Examples of Frog, Lizard, and Mammal Lineages in Which Termites and or Ants Are a Significant Part of the Diet Note. Not all the taxa that are a part of these lineages eat only ants and or termites. There are many other lineages not listed that eat insects. Mammals eat insects and the most distant ancestors of mammals may have been insectivores. Generalized features derived from the primitive amniote condition are associated with mammalian feeding, including a longer secondary pallate, heterodont dentition, higher metabolic rates and more active foraging behaviors. Several of these features are reversed in obligate ant- and termite-eating mammals. For example, anteaters, pangolins, and the echidna, numbat, and aardvark possess highly simplified teeth few in number or lack teeth entirely. Some ant and termite specialists have lower metabolic rates, but it is not clear if these rates are retained from a primitive mammalian ancestor or if they are a response to prey that may...

Plantmicrobe interactions

Although straying away slightly from the remit of this section, it is interesting to point out that soil microbial activity has a major influence in the balance of stable atmospheric gases. These include the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, nitrous and nitric oxide and methane, so called because they trap heat re-emitted by earth from energy radiated by the sun. The atmospheric balance of less stable gases which include ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and dimethylsulphide are also subject to microbial activity, as will be apparent from an understanding of the foregoing chapters on metabolism. A final word on soil microbes concerns the degradation of lignin. This is a major constituent of woody plant material and is recalcitrant to degradation. However, filamentous fungi are responsible for its degradation worldwide, augmented in the tropics by bacteria living in the gut of termites. This degradation requires the presence of oxygen, hence wood residing in anaerobic conditions is somewhat...

Division Of Labor Among Workers

A less common but more extreme form of division of labor among workers is based on differences in worker morphology. This is seen in a minority of ant species and nearly all termites. Morphological differences among workers result from processes similar to worker queen caste determination and morphologically distinct worker castes are recognized. For example, small ant workers (minors) typically labor in the nest, whereas bigger individuals (majors) defend and forage. Sometimes this form of division of labor also involves dramatic morphological adaptations in some worker castes, such as soldiers with huge and powerful

Variety Of Salivary Defensive Functions Salivary Venoms

Termite workers in both primitive and highly evolved genera secrete defensive exudates that are rapidly converted to rubberlike or resinous products that can rapidly entangle small predators such as ants. This conversion frequently reflects the polymerization of salivary proteins that have reacted with p-benzoquinone, a highly reactive salivary defensive product. Similar systems for generating entangling salivas have been detected in a diversity of termite genera, including Mastotermes, Microtermes, Hypotermes, and Odontotermes. Termites in other genera discharge cephalic exudates that are fortified with toxic terpenes. Species of Nasutitermes and Tenuirostritermes secrete mixtures of compounds that rapidly form a resin that entangles ants and other small predators. The presence of monoterpene hydrocarbons is probably responsible for killing ants and, in addition, may function as an alarm pheromone for recruiting termite soldiers.

Symbolism And Reverence

Because of the perceived similarities between human and insect societies, social insects figure prominently in the symbolic representation of insects. Social insects such as ants, termites, and some bees represent desirable qualities such as unity, cooperation, and industriousness. For example, ants represent the benefits of teamwork and cooperation for the good of all. Many symbolic depictions feature the ancient activities of honey hunting and beekeeping. In Europe, bees and hives also are widely used in various signage and as heraldic emblems, perhaps extolling various qualities of bees upon their bearer. A fine example of the latter is found on the coat of arms of Pope Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini, who consecrated the present church in St. Peter's Basilica in 1626. The three Barberini bees adorn various ornamentations at the church and many papal objects located in the Vatican museum, including the building itself. In the United States, honey bees are used to symbolize virtuous...

Modes Of Foundation Independent Swarming And Budding

Size versus number of propagules Insect colonies vary widely in the amount of investment they make in each of their offspring colonies. At the low end are independently founded colonies, wherein single inseminated females (such as eusocial thrips and aphids and some Hymenoptera) initiate new colonies alone. In these species, the colony passes through a solitary phase. Examples of independent founders include sweat bees (Halictidae), bumble bees (Bombus), several genera of paper wasps most Vespinae (hornets and yellowjackets), Parapolybia, some Ropalidia, Mischocyttarus, and Polistes , and many ants (Formicidae). In some species, the lone foundress may be later joined by one or more conspecific cofoundresses. In other species, cofoundresses are not tolerated. In many termites, the smallest possible social group founds the new colony a single reproductive male female pair. At the other extreme, the relatively large colonies of some species issue discrete colony-founding swarms. Swarms...

Behavioral Ecology

The mating signals of lightningbug fireflies are the most commonly seen example of insect luminescence, but others are easily found if sought in their habitat prey-attracting glows of larval Appalachian glowworm flies (O. fultoni) in beds of impatiens at roadside springs and under overhanging mossy banks of streams along dark mountain roads glowing Arachnocampa luminosa larvae hanging from ceilings of New Zealand caves, attracting midges from streams below and tourists from around the world and prey-attracting glows of larval termitophageous click beetles (Pyrearinus termitillum-inans), which make termite mounds look like high-rise buildings of a metropolis seen from the air, in the dry-scrub region (open-formation cerrado) of northeastern Brazil.


Cockroaches are referred to as generalized orthopteroid insects, which classifies them with the true Orthoptera (crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, locusts), Phasmatodea (walkingsticks), Mantodea (praying mantids), Plecoptera (stoneflies), Dermaptera (earwigs), Isoptera (termites), and a few other minor groups. The phylogenetic relationships among all these groups are not firmly established, although several theories exist. The closest relatives of cockroaches are believed to be the mantids, and some modern taxonomists prefer to place these two groups, as well as termites, in the order Dictyoptera. Indications are that termites evolved out of the cockroach stem or that cockroaches and termites both evolved from a common ancestor. One family of cockroaches (Cryptocercidae) and one extant relic species of termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis) have certain characteristics in common. Among them are the segmental origin of specific structures in the female reproductive system and that both...

Reproductive Castes

A fully social or eusocial group is generally understood to exhibit reproductive division of labor. This means that eusocial groups must include some individuals that forgo direct reproduction and instead aid the rearing of the offspring of others in their group. In eusocial insects, the helpers comprise the worker caste and reproductive females are referred to as queens. Termite colonies possess long-lived royal couples (a queen and a king), whereas in eusocial Hymenoptera, males are sometimes referred to as drones. Males in the order Hymenoptera (bees, ants, and wasps) rarely work for their colonies and typically die soon after mating. In contrast, male eusocial thrips (Thysanoptera) and termites (Isoptera) comprise part of the worker force and participate fully in colony labor. In contrast, consistent reproductive caste differences in body size and shape have evolved in several lineages of social insects. Most eusocial insects with wingless workers, such as ants and termites,...

People and Animals

Of rituals with social significance, possession of individuality as opposed to an exclusively communal identity, awareness of death, converting nature to culture by building structures, creation of art, altruism, and the use of language. However, exceptions to these criteria have been convincingly demonstrated. Examples of tool use are Galapagos finches who use cactus spines to probe for insects and sea otters who use rocks to open abalones and obtain meat. Jane Goodall found that chimpanzees* actually make tools with which to obtain termites, using premeditation and planning. Termite fishing is an acquired skill passed on as part of cultural learning from older to younger individuals. Japanese macaques also have learned food washing as a behavior invented by one individual and taught to others. Wolves and chimpanzees perform rituals with social consequences. Individualized behavior has now been documented among many species, including birds, who previously were held to be automatons...

Habitats And Habits

Most Collembola in temperate and arctic zones live in the soil or ground litter, but there are several groups, most notably the Sminthuridae, that largely inhabit vegetation. In tropical regions Collembola are abundant in trees and epiphytic plants. In rain forests, they are rare in soils but abundant in trees. Collembola are abundant in many caves and are frequent in marine littoral zones. They are also common in the interstitial sand regions of marine beaches and the surface of standing fresh water. In all these examples there are many species specialized for these habitats. Collembola have recently been discovered at depths up to 20 m in both fresh and salt water, but nothing is known of the habits of such forms. Many species are found in bird and mammal nests, and microcavernicole habitats are frequently exploited but such forms show no particular specializations, being also found either in litter or in soil habitats. Ant and termite nests are frequently occupied, and one family,...

Colony Growth

For eusocial Hymenoptera, production of male offspring is potentially costly to the colony, and selection for labor efficiency may act to delay male production. Male Hymenoptera rarely work for their colonies and are often thought to represent a drain on colony resources. This cost does not accrue to termites, both sexes of which participate fully as workers. In seasonal habitats, the proper conditions for nest foundation can be constrained to a narrow window of time. This can select for a high degree of synchrony among colonies in a population in the timing of release of reproductives. In some species, reproductive offspring that depart from their natal nest must mate and either overwinter or initiate a new nest or perish. This pattern is apparently common to many ants and termites. In other species, reproductive females (honey bees, some bumble bees) and males (other bumble bees, some tropical Mischocyttarus wasps) can leave to find mates, but then return to the natal nest.

Defensive Ploys

Protection can be achieved by living near or associating with a defended or noxious species. The tropical paper wasp, Mischocyttarus immarginatus, prefers to make its small nest with few individuals near the much larger nest of stinging Polybia occidentals, a common social wasp. The arrangement seems to provide protection for the Mischocyttarus from vertebrate predators. No potential benefit to the Polybia has been demonstrated. Honey bees and some species of ants are known to nest in portions of termite mounds. The exact nature of these associations is unclear and the ants generally attack termites if given the chance. The benefits to the bees and ants are more obvious they not only share the moderated temperature and humidity environments produced by the termites, but they also gain protection and reduced risk of discovery by being in the termite mound.

Digestive System

The digestive system consists of the alimentary canal (gut) and salivary glands, and is responsible for all steps in food processing digestion, absorption, and feces delivery and elimination. These steps occur along the gut. The anterior (foregut) and posterior (hindgut) parts of the gut have cells covered by a cuticle whereas, in the midgut, cells are separated from the food by a filmlike anatomical structure referred to as the peritrophic membrane. Salivary glands are associated with the foregut and may be important in food intake but usually not in digestion. Remarkable adaptations are found in taxa with very specialized diets, such as cicadas (plant sap), dung beetles (feces), and termites (wood), and in insects with short life spans, as exemplified by flies and moths. Digestion is carried out by insect digestive enzymes, apparently without participation of symbiotic microorganisms.

Instructional Tales

In addition to being entertaining, some folk tales serve as a useful means of instruction. Many tales are told to convey a moral message or pass on useful information in an interesting, amusing, and hence more easily remembered format. An example is that of Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper. While the ant concerned himself all summer with gathering provisions for the upcoming winter, the grasshopper spent his time in leisure and song. The grasshopper even derided the ant for spending so much of his time at work instead of play. When winter came, the grasshopper was not prepared and suffered the consequences of his folly. The ant on the other hand, lived comfortably through the winter on the stores he gathered all summer. The activities of these insects in this story are used to show the importance of preparation for future times of necessity. In addition to ants, the behavior of other social insects such as termites, honey bees, and wasps is commonly used to exemplify the...


In the field of material protection, insecticides are used basically for the preservation of all kind of wood, for example buildings, cross ties, part of bridges, telegraph poles, pallets and containers to prevent the attack of different wood destroying insects. Some species of insects lay their eggs on or below the surface of wood and their larvae then feed and pupate in the wood, whereas other species do not eat wood, but destroy it by hollowing it out for nests. Another species worth mentioning are termites. Termites are locally present in Europe but in the United States, Japan, South Asia, Latin America and Australia they belong to the most economically important insects causing significant damage every year. There are several species of termites known and the most common ones are the subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites with the first mentioned being the most destructive one. Because subterranean termites are soil inhabiting insects living in complex colonies, the...


Among all terrestrial animals, only vertebrates and insects are richly endowed with a sense of hearing. By hearing, we usually mean the ability to detect minute, time-varying changes in air pressure that we familiarly experience as sound. Under this restricted definition, we can say that audition has evolved in at least seven orders of insects, including all of the major orders except the Hymenoptera (wasps, ants, bees). However, if we were to include under hearing the ability to detect sound waves in water and solids, or the displacement of molecules in a sound's near field, then the number of auditive insects would expand enormously to include not only the Hymenoptera, but even small orders such as Plecoptera (stone flies) and Isoptera (termites). Initially, we focus on the form and function of tympanal ears, which are organs that are sensitive to sound signals that are propagated through the air or water as fluctuations in pressure and which come to mind when we (humans) use the...


Because of their physical properties, acoustic signals are highly adaptive for certain kinds of behavioral interactions sound waves can travel at any time of the day or night, through thick vegetation or muddy water they convey information instantaneously and can be transmitted over long distances and sounds are easy to localize, do not leave lingering traces, and can transmit large amounts of information per unit time. For the majority of insects, acoustic communication functions primarily in reproductive behavior and predator avoidance, but may also be used for detecting prey or host species (parasitic flies, wasps predatory water striders, ant lions) or calling to conspecifics to form aggregations (sawfly larvae) or warn of danger (termites, treehoppers).

Litter Decomposers

However, in African savanna termites, notably Macrotermes michaelseni, consume a high proportion of grass litter (Dangerfield and Schuurman, 2000). These eu-social insects cultivate lignolytic basidiomycete mutualists belonging to the genus Termitomyces in conspicuous nests, providing the fungus combs with partially digested faecal material and consuming the resulting hyphae (Chapter 9).

Insect Zoos Defined

Most facilities contain a series of terrariums, where species are displayed in naturalistic mini-environments. A major insectarium is a comprehensive coverage of the class Insecta, representing many different orders such as Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Orthoptera, and Mantodea. Observation honey bee hives, ant and termite colonies, walkingsticks, katydids, lubber grasshoppers, and assassin bugs are a few examples of typical displays. These facilities can be distinguished from collections of a few species of arthropod housed in a reptile house or aquarium or included in an exhibit that focuses on the interpretation of a particular ecosystem. Many tropical rain forest exhibits today include a few displays of insects, often a leafcutter ant exhibit and a few other invertebrates as nominal representatives of the vast diversity of invertebrates. However, overall these exhibits emphasize the vertebrate fauna of rain forests and present a relatively minor treatment of the subject of...


Relative to the numbers of species introduced, insects rarely cause enormous ecological (as opposed to economic) damage. Introduced species whose impacts ripple through entire communities usually do so by changing the habitat dramatically, and such change agents are mostly plants (which become structural dominants or modify fire regimes) or pathogens, which attack dominant plants. Occasionally mammals can generate an enormous ecosystem impact by trampling or grazing. A recent list of the world's 100 worst introduced species included 15 insects, but at most one would qualify as having a huge ecosystem-wide impact the yellow crazy (or long-legged) ant, which removes the keystone red crab species on Christmas Island. Of the 15 insects, five are ants. In addition to the yellow crazy ant, the Argentine ant, the bigheaded ant, the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), and the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) all affect other ants greatly, and sometimes other insects, but to...


(Termites) The ordinal name Isoptera refers to the two pairs of straight and very similar wings that termites have as reproductive adults. The common name, of Latin origin, translates as woodworm. Termites are small and white to tan or sometimes black. They are sometimes called white ants and can be confused with true ants (Hymenoptera). However, a closer look reveals two easily observed, distinguishing features termites have straight antennae and a broad waist between the thorax and the abdomen, whereas ants have elbowed antennae and a narrow waist. For reproductive forms, termites have four equally sized wings, whereas ants have two pairs of dissimilarly sized wings. FIGURE 1 Castes for Isoptera. A lower termite group, Reticultermes, is represented. A large queen is depicted in the center. A king is to the left of the queen. A worker and soldier are below. (Adapted, with permission from Aventis Environmental Science, from The Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, 1997.) FIGURE 1 Castes...


Isoptera (termites) flies (order Diptera) have only one pair, and female ants and termites have wings only at certain times. Lice and fleas have no wings. The head of an insect usually has two large compound eyes and one pair of antennas. Most insects eat plants, although parasitic insects are common. Some are predators on other insects or animals. Fleas feed on the blood of mammals. Many wasps lay their eggs in or on spiders, centipedes, or other insects, on which the larvae feed after hatching. Many predatory insects benefit humans by attacking crop pests. Many larvae and beetles eat dead animals.


This quaternary ammonium compound is used as a detergent-disinfectant in hospitals, as an algaecide in swimming pools, as a fungicide, and against termites in wood. We recently observed severe contact dermatitis in a slaughterhouse worker using a liquid soap containing this product (personal observation).