Subterranean termites are the single greatest economic pest in the United States. These termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year to homes, historical structures, and commercial buildings. In addition to buildings, termites also consume valuable books, documents and photographs. Subterranean termites have existed for over 55 million years and are extremely good at what they do. A great deal of their success can be attributed to their cooperative behavior. Subterranean termites are social insects. This means that they live in family groups called colonies. Social insects are different from other insects (grasshoppers, cockroaches, or beetles) because each termite in the colony performs a specific job that benefits the colony as a whole. Most other insects work only for themselves. For example, each individual grasshopper will feed and reproduce itself independently of its siblings. In the termite colony, an entire group or caste of termites is responsible for feeding their parents and siblings, while another caste is responsible for reproduction. Because of this division of labor, the colony of individuals functions as a single animal.
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Click on link to read more about these fascinating insects at the Virginia Tech University TERMITE COMPANIES
Pictures provided below are courtesy of Stoy Hedges, one of the country’s leading structural entomologists, is the author of the Second Edition of the PCT Field Guide to Structure-Infesting Flies and the Editorial Director of the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control. A Board Certified Entomologist, Hedges earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban & Industrial Entomology from Purdue University before embarking on a successful career that included high-level technical director positions at ChemLawn and Terminix. He has authored more than 150 technical articles and received the John V. Osmun Alumni Professional Achievement Award in Entomology from Purdue University in 2019. Read more about Stoy’s entomological background here.