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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
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Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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entomology@ksu.edu

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Order Isoptera

COMMON NAME: TERMITES

The termites are medium-sized, social insects. Their colonies contain three castes--workers, soldiers, and swarmers (sexually mature kings and queens). The workers and soldiers are wingless and dirty-white in color. The swarmers are dark-bodied and have four long, many-veined, whitish wings. They have chewing mouthparts and a gradual metamorphosis, the life stages being the egg, nymph, and adult. Termites are sometimes incorrectly called white ants, but they are very different from ants in both structure and metamorphosis. True ants, which belong to the order Hymenoptera, have the abdomen constricted (pinched in) just back of the thorax; termites do not. Termites may be found in logs, stumps, fence posts, timbers of buildings, or in wood lying on the ground.

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Examples

Family Rhinotermitidae

Reticulitermes flavipes - Eastern Subterranean Termite

Habitat: These termites are destructive household pests.

same as above. Workers.

**most of the images included in these pages are from the 'Insects in Kansas' Book. They are freely available for student and noncommercial use (according to their copyright agreement with each photographer) at the PDIS image site, http://www.pdis.org/default.aspxx

For additional information on termites, check out the following: