UH Termite Project - PEPS/CTAHR

For the Public - About Termites

Termites are highly social insects with one of the most sophisticated family structures in the animal kingdom. There are approximately 2,700 species of termites found worldwide. Hawaii has 8 species of termites, all non-native introductions through human transport of infested wood materials.

All Termites

  • Are social insects (have overlapping generations, reproductive division of labor, and brood care)
  • Have different family members with different colony roles
  • Consume wood along with other plant material containing cellulose (main component in plant cell walls)
  • Prefer to live in the dark
  • Need food, water, and shelter in order to survive

In natural areas, termites are essential organisms in the environment. Termites decompose cellulose, the main component of plant cell walls and recycle nutrients back into the soil for use by other living organisms. Termites are also an important food source for many amphibians, reptiles and birds. Unfortunately, termites receive a bad reputation because they are unable to distinguish between the dead wood in the forest and the dead wood used in our homes.



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