Termites are considered to be the most destructive insect pests in the world. Many buildings and structures are damaged by these pests each year resulting in huge financial losses.
There are a range of different species of termites in Fiji, but only a handful cause problems to properties:
Of all these, it is the West Indian Drywood Termite that is“public enemy number 1” in Fiji.
Family: Rhinotermitidae (subfamily Coptotermitidae)
Castes: Queen, king, soldier, worker, reproductive.
Nest type: Coptotermes generally build mounds. They mostly nests in trees, stumps, poles, or filled-in verandahs where timber has been buried. Favoured trees for nesting are Mango trees and Pine Trees. The colony is mostly found in the root crown or the lower part of the trunk.
Distribution: Coptotermes acinaciformis is present over all the Fiji Islands.
The basic castes in a colony are queens, kings, workers, soldiers and alates.
The function of the Queen and King in the termite colony is to reproduce. Starting out life as an Alate, they leave their parents' colony, drop to the ground and shed their wings to seek out an environment to nest. They care for their young until they are able to take over the duties of the colony.
The workers make up the largest number within a colony. They do all of the work (except defend and reproduce): feeding, grooming, excavating the nest and making tunnels. In doing their jobs, they cause the destruction that effects so many homes.
Alates are the winged reproductives that swarm out from the nest and establish new colonies. Male and females pair off and look for a suitable environment to mate. They are often confused for moths!