Termite is the common name of a group of chemically complex insects that live in communities as ants do. They have long been known as white ants however this is not entirely accurate for termites are like ants only in their habits of living together and that they are small in size. Actually termites are more closely related to cockroaches and grasshoppers.
Their mouth parts, antennae, thick waists, primitive wings and other features resemble those of cockroaches. Termites are found almost all over Australia. Some termites build huge mounds of bits of soil mixed with wood saliva. These nests may be 6 metres high. The inside of the mound is divided into various chambers and galleries. In the centre is a closed cell where the queen is kept. The queens’ body goes under extraordinary change. Her body swells up to hold thousands of eggs. The queen lays the eggs at the rate of several thousand a day.
Studies in the U.S. have revealed that termites cause as much property damage each year as fire does.
Termites digest wood, paper, and other material containing cellulose, with aid of protozoain their bodies. They do much damage in tunnelling through the wood work of houses destroy books and furniture, and do great damage by tunneling through fence posts, trees, timbers of wooden buildings, bridges, trestles and other structures. In houses they eat, cloth furniture, books and paper.
Information and photos courtesy of Bayer Environmental Science.