- There are over 2,500 species of termites inhabiting different parts of the world. Termites are small insects with three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and three pairs of legs. Their color varies from white to brown to black, and they are 6mm to 20mm long. They also have a pair of segmented antennae and a set of compound eyes.
- Termites are cellulose-eating insects and, for this reason, classified under the order of Isoptera. Despite them being termed as white ants, studies show that termites are more closely related to cockroaches. Due to this contradiction, some researchers place them under the order of Dictyoptera.
- Different termite species inhabit different geographical locations. They are, however, transported in wood to new habitats. Since these new species are less resistant to the new climatic conditions and they seek refuge in man-made structures causing destruction. Nonetheless, in their destruction, they play a critical role in the ecosystem.
- Termites live in highly specialized and organized colonies. Their castle-like systems comprise a division of labor among the workers, reproductive members and soldiers. Soldiers and workers consist of both male and female non-reproductive termites.
- At hatching, all termite nymphs are genetically similar. Hormones and other chemical substances are also critical in the differentiation, molting and metamorphosis. The soldiers and reproductive termites produce certain hormones or chemical substances, which they transmit to other members and nymphs through food and grooming practices.
- The ratio numbers of each type are regulated through reproduction and cannibalism, and there is usually one reproductive male and female. Hormones and other chemical substances are also critical in their distinct features.
- New colonies form from the dispersed adult winged termites, also known as alates. Initially, alates avoid light, but as they mature, they get more attracted and drawn to light flying away from their colonies. Since they are weak, they are empowered by the wind to fly wind a few meters from their colony, and upon landing, they shed their wings and hibernate under the soft wet soil. There, they start the mating and reproduction process, which occurs for a lifetime. The female, also known as the queen, can live up to 20years and is replaced upon her death.