Termites are social insects belonging to the Isoptera infraordo, part of the Blattodea (cockroach) order that is widely known as an important pest of human life. Termites nest in and eat wooden furniture or house frames resulting in many economic losses. Termites are still related to ants, who are also social insects. Termites are also called “white ants” because of the similarity in behavior.
The term termite actually refers to animals in general, even though there are several different forms that are known, as in ant colonies or social bees. In colonies, termites do not have wings. However, some termites can reach the winged form that will come out of the nest in droves at the beginning of the rainy season (so it is often a sign of change to the rainy season) in the evening and flies close to light.
Termites are considered the most damaging insect pests in the world. Many buildings and structures are damaged by these pests each year and result in large financial losses.
There are 200 different species of termites in Singapore, but only a handful of them cause problems:
- Coptotermes gestroi
- Coptotermes curvignathus
- Coptotermes havilandi
- Coptotermes Kalshoven
- Coptotermes sepangensis
- Macrotermes gilvus
- Macrotermes pakistanicus
- Globitermes sulphureus
- Schedorhinotermes sp.
- Microcerotermes sp.
About 70% of property damage in Singapore is caused by Coptotermes species so that these termites are labeled as “enemy number 1” in Singapore.