are an ancient order of insects whose origins date back more than 100 million
years to the Cretaceous period. Although they are commonly called ‘white ants’,
the resemblance to ants is superficial and they are more closely related to
cockroaches and in fact have been recently included into the cockroach order
can be grouped into three basic categories: dampwood, drywood and subterranean.
Dampwood termites generally live in damp rotting logs or rot pockets in dead or
living trees. Drywood termites obtain water from the wood in which they live
and have no contact with the soil, or with any other source of moisture.
Subterranean termites are generally ground-dwelling or require contact with the
soil or some constant source of moisture and are the main threat posed to timber
in the built environment (timber-in-service).
play a prominent part in the recycling of plant nutrients through the
disintegration and decomposition of dead wood and plant debris. Their
excavations alter the structure of trees and provide spaces which have become a
necessary part of the habitat of many vertebrate species including bats, birds,
reptiles and arboreal mammals. Many species of termite feed on materials such
as grass. Only a handful are of economic importance to timber-in-service.