Today’s Termites Offer Clues to Ancient Migrations Across Southeast Asia

Macrotermes gilvus

How did a ground-dwelling insect such as the termite Macrotermes gilvus get from mainland Myanmar all the way out to the islands of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia? The answer lies in ancient land bridges that existed in eras when sea levels were lower, and researchers from Universiti Sains Malaysia say the genetic markers present in M. gilvus termites throughout varying Southeast Asia locales reveal the routes these termites—and many other terrestrial animals, as well as early humans—likely followed as they dispersed there over the past 2 million years.

Short Bait Exposure Provides Control of Asian Subterranean Termite Colonies

Coptotermes gestroi termites

A new study in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows exposure to an insecticide bait known as a chitin synthesis inhibitor for as little as one day may be sufficient to eliminate a colony of Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi).

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 […]

Termite as Pollinator? Fossil Specimen Captures the Act

termite in amber with milkweed flower

As far as insect reputations goes, termites are typically known as pests. They get little of the adulation heaped on their pollinator cousins. But a new discovery of a fossilized termite in amber might give reason to see termites in a different light. As reported in the Spring 2017 issue of American Entomologist, a termite […]

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 […]