Integrated Pest Management for Termites

Pest Management In and Around Structures February 12, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF


There are approximately 2,300 species of termites worldwide. Most live in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Others live in temperate regions of the world. Approximately 41 species of termites live in the United States, most of which live in the southwest. In North America termites are active year round. One species – subterranean termites – can be found in every U.S. state, except Alaska. Drywood and dampwood termites typically are more regional. Termites often are more active in warmer areas and coastal states, but they can survive and cause damage to homes in other states.

Termites are a group of eusocial insects that were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera. As eusocial insects, termites live in colonies that, at maturity, number from several hundred to several million individuals. Termites communicate during a variety of behavioral activities with signals. Colonies use decentralised, self-organised systems of activity guided by swarm intelligence which exploit food sources and environments unavailable to any single insect acting alone. A typical colony contains nymphs (semimature young), workers, soldiers, and reproductive individuals of both sexes, sometimes containing several egg-laying queens.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.