For Termites, Home is Where the Molt Is

premolt termites

If, like some creatures on this Earth, you had to periodically shed your skin, would you prefer to do that out in public or in the privacy of your own home? If you’d choose the latter, then congratulations—you have at least one thing in common with a termite. In a study published the Journal of […]

More Than a Pest: Termites as Models for Evolutionary Transitions

Coptotermes formosanus overhead view

By Thomas Chouvenc, Ph.D. The Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is an infamous termite pest species, but it is also an interesting model for studying the evolution of termites and complex behaviors in eusocial insects. A study published in January in Environmental Entomology investigated the social behaviors of workers in young and old termite colonies […]

A Termite-Control Twofer: How Baiting One Colony of Formosan Subterranean Termites Can Knock Out the Colony Next Door

Formosan Subterranean Termite

By John P. Roche Termites pose huge economic costs because they consume wood in buildings. Worldwide, termite control and termite damage cost $40 billion annually. The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, is the most economically damaging species of all. It is estimated to cause $300 million in damage each year in the city of New […]

In Subterranean Termite Colonies, Older Workers Change the Diapers

By Thomas Chouvenc Well, they don’t exactly change diapers, but when it comes to the latrine and nest sanitation, old termites are in charge. Age polyethism, where workers change tasks as they age, is an elegant way for social insect colonies to effectively allocate tasks to different individuals, usually giving the more risky duties, such […]

As Termite Range Expands, Half of Structures in South Florida May Be at Risk by 2040

Asian and Formosan subterranean termites cause about $40 billion a year in structural damage globally, and researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences predict these pests will dramatically increase their impact in the next two decades in South Florida. They estimate that subterranean termite activity will expand, meaning half the […]