( Latin: Isoptera )
On a world scale the termites are by far the most serious pests of timber. There are about 2000 different species, but they require warmth and a high• humidity and therefore only thrive under tropical conditions.
Like ants and bees, termites live in colonies which consist of so-called kings and queens, concerned with reproduction, workers which do the practical work and form the most numerous caste in the colony, and in some species there are soldier termites which defend the colony.
Two species, Reticulotermes lucifugus and Kalotermes flavicollis, occur in Europe, but do not extend north of Paris. For some years a few colonies of Reticulotermes flavipes have managed to survive in harbour warehouses in Hamburg, which they presumably reached in goods imported from America. Termites of various kinds probably arrive in other ports in northern Europe, but normally they would not become established.