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Coptotermes acinaciformis: Timber Destroyer

Added: (Tue Nov 12 2013)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Be it homeowners, hotel owners, library owners or theatre owners, they have one enemy in common and they are termites!! And when they are as dangerous as Coptotermes acinaciformis, there is a great reason to worry about. Let’s get to know more about these species.
Coptotermes acinaciformis can be found in widespread areas throughout Australia. They are predominantly found in urban areas and where eucalypts are abundant. They are the second most destructive termite in Australia and cause the greatest amount of structural damage to buildings, timber structures, trees and electrical wiring.
These species are most commonly found in the base of trees and stumps and in built in patios, under concrete slabs and buried timber, wherever there is moisture and a secure hiding place to form a nest. They love it between garden sheds and the fence when timber is left there. One of the most destructive elements of this species is that it can form ancillary nests, away from the main colony, particularly in wall cavities.
Coptotermes acinaciformis are subterranean termite species 5.0-6.6 mm in length, and they have sabre like the mandibles with no obvious teeth. The labrum is not grooved and the head is pear shaped and rounded laterally. Fontanelle is obvious on the anterior part of the head. Tarsi (skeleton) have 4 segments and abdominal cerci have 2 segments. It pronotum(dorsal) is flat and it does not have any anterior lobe.
The life cycle of these species is a gradual process. Queen lays eggs singly. A nymph after hatching passes through 4-7 moults before becoming a mature worker, soldier or winged reproductive. Nymphs resemble the adults or mature castes. Nymphal stage lasts approximately 2-3 months, depending of food and climatic conditions. No pupal stage exists. Soldiers and workers live for 1-2 years.
There are 4 different castes of adults:
1. Queen and King:
The queen and king are the original winged reproductives (dealates). When a new colony is formed the pair must feed and care for the young until there are sufficient soldiers and workers to take over the duties of the colony.
2. Worker:
This is the most abundant caste in the colony, performing all the tasks except defence and reproduction. It is this caste that does damage to timber. These are the males and females whose sexual organs and characteristics have not developed. They are wingless, blind and sterile. They also have a thin cuticlewhich makes them susceptible to desiccation. They are the kind of species which will leave the security of underground tunnels and shelter tubes only when humidity is high or in the search for new food sources.
3. Soldier:
This is the most distinctive and the easiest caste from which to identify a species. The role of this caste is to defend the colony. These consist of males and females whose sexual organs and characteristics have not developed. Li ke the workers caste, they are susceptible to dessication and seldom leave the colony or shelter ubes. The fontanelle is used to discharge a secretion associated with defence, since it is a repellent to ants and other enemies of termites.
4. Reproductive:
They are the future kings and queens. Having compound eyes, they are darker in colour and have a more dense cuticle than workers and soldiers. They are often large. When fully winged(alates) a colonising flight will occur when humidity and temperature conditions outside approximate the conditions inside the colony, normally in summer months.
These mostly nests in trees, stumps, poles or filled-in verandahs where timber has been buried. Soil contact is desirable, but not essential depending on an assured water supply and security in its habitat.
Workers feed on wood, wood products, leaves, bark and grass. The cellulose of wood is digested by intestinal protozoa. The other castes are fed by the workers from oral and anal excretions. Protein is also required in the diet, which is usually supplied by fungi that decay wood and vegetation.
Coptotermes "acinaciformis" gets its name from the fact that the soldiers excrete formic acid from their mouths when they are threatened. This poses a problem for wiring in buildings infested with this species. These are most widely distributed timber pest in Australia, accounting for more than 70% of the serious damage to buildings in New South Wales. A single colony may consist of more than one million termites.
The destruction caused by these species is unprecedented. Our product Termirepel®™ is ideal solution for this problem. Termirepel ®™ is a non-toxic, eco-friendly insect and pest aversive. It is a broad spectrum aversive, designed for protection against termites but is effective against a multitude of other insects and pests.
It is used against Termites of all classes successfully. It can be incorporated into polymeric application in terms of masterbatches and can also be used to give a coating as it is available in liquid as well as lacquer form. The lacquer form can easily be used to coat a wooden product as these species clearly target timber and its derivatives.
Termirepel®™ has unique qualities, it does not leach out of the end application, it can withstand high temperatures, it does not kill the target species i.e. termites and last but not the least it is one of the answers to our deteriorating environment: It is ECOFRIENDLY.

Submitted by:Ankita Singh
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