Category: Insect Other
Facts about Subterranean Termites, "Scientific name for Subterranean Termite is Reticulitermes flavipes". This is the most common termite in North America and the most widely distributed in the East of the US in cities such as Texas and the south of Ontario. The Subterranean Termite are said to be the most destructive insects and are thus classified as pests. "Fear of termites Isopterophobia".
Like other social insects such as bees, the Subterranean Termites share their resources and divide labor in relation to a caste system. The Subterranean Termites then live in large numbers known as a colony that consists of males and females generally organized into the solder caste, the worker caste and the reproductive caste.
The difference between these three groups of Subterranean Termites is very evident. In terms of their sizes, workers are the smallest. The Subterranean Termite are creamy white to grayish-white, wingless, blind and soft-bodied with a round head. They are about 3mm long. The number of the worker caste happens to be the highest also. Their number could be as high as five million. The reason they must be many is because the Subterranean Termite are responsible for foraging for food, water, construct and also repair the shelter tubes, care for young and the eggs, feed and groom other termites as well as participate in the defense of the colony.
Solder Subterranean Termites, which form a mere 2% of the population in the colony, are wingless too and resemble the workers. The most notable differences, however, is that the solders are larger and their head rectangular with strong long black mandibles. The purpose of the Solder Subterranean Termite caste is to protect the colony. The mandibles are specifically for crashing any intruder. The Solder Subterranean Termites depend on the worker termites on feeding since they are incapable of feeding themselves.
The Subterranean Termites do not have a permanent nest. They are mobile throughout their lifetime. Nevertheless, their movement is determined by moisture, food and temperature.
A newly hatched Subterranean Termites is opportunistic. In other words, the Subterranean Termite can become either a worker, solder or even the queen. In fact, the whole species of termites is said to be opportunistic too. The reason for this is that before a Subterranean Termite identifies with any particular caste, it has to become a worker first. The Subterranean Termite, unfortunately, is likely to remain a worker for its entire lifespan. Since the R. flavipes molts, the worker termite can change into a pre-solder, subsequently becoming a solder. The solder caste, however, is a terminal stage meaning that solders can no longer molt.
Their feeding is characterized by feeding on anything cellulose. Unfortunately, the Subterranean Termite can tunnel through most materials in order to gain access to the cellulose covered under these materials, a behavior that is highly destructive to human activities. In a matter of fact, Subterranean Termites is responsible for over 80% of the $2 billion spent in the United States per year on termite control. Since termites feed on wood cellulose, it is sometimes very difficult to identify an infested structure as they will chew their way into the wood such that from outside, the wood appears sound but the inside has a honeycomb appearance.