Reticulitermes (genus)

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Reticulitermes virginicus alate (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Gerald J. Lenhard, Louiana State Univ.
Source: IPM Images

Reticulitermes Holmgren, 1913 - (subterranean termites)

This is an important and widespread genus of termites, causing billions of US$ in damage to wooden structues annually. On the other hand, they are also important for the ecology of forests. The species mainly occur in warm and humid Palearctic regions but can be also found in some temperate areas. They are cryptic and usually only the winged forms (alates) are encountered. They build their nests underground. Wooden structure are infested if these have contact with the ground or when the termites enter a building through cracks and construct shelter tubes along the concrete walls up to the wood.

Like other termite species, Reticulitermes colonies contain three primary castes: the reproductives (king, queen, alates, alate nymphs, and supplementary reproductives), soldiers, and workers. The larval stage, emerging from the eggs, develops either to workers and later to soldiers or to reproductive pseudergates which can become alates or supplementary reproductives. Soldiers are often rare, <5% of all individuals.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: