Cryptotermes brevis

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Cryptotermes brevis (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, University of Florida
Source: IPM Images

Cryptotermes brevis (Walker, 1853) - (West Indian drywood termite)

This termite is invasive in several countries. The current distribution includes America (where it is possibly not native), Africa, Australia and southern parts of Europe. It is absent from Asia. The species is well-known for its damage to wood products and for its desiccation tolerance. Colonies are small, often containing only a few hundred insects. They do not need contact to soil or access to water. A piece of wood might contain several colonies. Control measures include preventing the establishment in houses through small mesh screens and treating wooden structures with suitable chemicals. The alates are about 10 mm long and develop once a year. They are weak fliers and will disperse only about 100m or so.

Vernacular names
• English: West Indian drywood termite
West Indian powderpost termite
• Español: termita de la madera seca
• Português: cupim-de-madeira-seca

The casts include queen, king, soldiers, alates and pseudergates. The pseudergates (also called "false workers") collect the food and can later develop into soldiers or alates. Soldiers are about 4-5 mm and have a dark, deeply wrinkled head.