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Here in the United States termites are considered to be the most damaging insect pests to private and public property. Annual termite pest activity in the US results in billions of dollars in damages. Two of the most damaging termite species in America include the native termite species known as eastern subterranean termites and the invasive species known as Formosan subterranean termites. However, for most termite species in the world, the US is a little too far north for their tastes. Most termite species live in humid tropical regions. The diversity of termite species becomes progressively more abundant the closer one gets to the equator. Relatively speaking, the US does not contain that many termite pests. Termites are far more prevalent in African and Asian countries, but many of these termite species are not necessarily considered pests. When it comes to determining which regions of the world see the greatest degree of termite-induced destruction, a map showing termite distribution around the world could be consulted. However, the amount of termite species dwelling within a particular region does not always indicate the amount of termite damage that that region will see.

 

Tropical and subtropical regions see the greatest diversity of termite species, but most of these termite species reside in rainforests. Termites are active in rainforests due to the abundance of water sources available to them. Most of these forest-dwelling termite species never venture into human habitats, as finding nourishment would be considerably more challenging in urban areas. Although America is home to a relatively small amount of termite species, there does not exist many forested areas that have not been intruded upon by humans. Therefore, in the US, human populations are bound to overlap with termite populations, resulting in costly termite-induced damages to man-made structures. Termites are not just limited to large regions of uninhabited rainforest. Strangely enough, some termite species are well adapted to survival in desert or savannah landscapes. The continent of Africa is home to the greatest diversity of termite life. Many termite habitats in Africa are limited to desert regions that are uninhabited by humans. These termite species rarely make contact with humans, and it could be said that African termite species are more problematic as pests to crops as opposed to man-made structures.

 

Do you think that termites are particularly problematic in the USA due to the high concentration of man-made structures built in regions that have become deforested and/or are inhabited by termites?

 

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