Termite species associated with processed wood in South America

IRG/WP 18-10934

C Jorge, M Ibáñez

Termites as an eusocial insect group play an important role in the decomposition of organic matter of cellulose origin and in the modification and quality of soils. Some species are xylophagous, and therefore are considered an important urban pest due to their ability to attack not only wooden building structures but also synthetic materials such as PVC, polyethylene or polyurethane, causing great economic losses. According to the available information the termite species with the greatest economic importance for South American countries are the exotic Cryptotermes brevis, Cryptotermes dudleyi, Cryptotermes havilandi, Coptotermes gestroi, Reticulitermes flavipes and the native Nasutitermes corniger. It is worth mentioning that termites are more diverse in tropical regions than in temperate ones. However, the economic losses caused by termite attacks are poorly documented in South America, with only Argentina, Brazil and Chile presenting competent knowledge on their biodiversity and importance in urban environments. Consequently, the diversity of both drywood and subterranean termites is probably underestimated. The termite pest management in South America faces various difficulties that stem from the scarse information published on the issue, and the occasional misidentification of the species. The management strategies used for termites pest control in South American countries are based on studies of the northern hemisphere countries, with products and programs developed for different species of termites and environmental conditions. For that reason, an extensive study on termite species and their management is needed.

Keywords: Isoptera pest, diversity, wood preservation, termite pest management

Conference: 18-04-29/05-03 Johannesburg, South Africa

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