Termites are the only members of the insect order Isoptera. They are commonly known as “White Ants”. However termites are not even closely related to ants. Ants have eyes, a constricted waist and dark bodies, whereas most worker and solder termites are blind, have no constriction and are creamy in colour. There are more than 300 species found in Australia but only about 30 could be considered to be pests of timber in service. Of these, the subterranean termites are the most significant, with about 12 species being serious pests. The termite diet is centred around cellulose-based materials. These can include the timber used in constructing buildings but could also include furniture, paper materials and fabrics. These termites can also damage non-cellulose materials such as polystyrene and plasterboard or the plastic coatings on electrical wiring.
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