July 2010. A question to members about termites infecting taro: has anyone seen this?
A member sent links to two pictures of yam infested with termites from West Cape, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, September 2007. In this case, it appeared that the termites were living in yams that had been damaged already. The yam field sampled was an abandoned one in the forest. Fox Bay people cultivate yams in the forest and, when the yams start to climb the trees, they cut them down, and the vines grow over the branches and foliage. At harvest the trees are rotten … probably this is when they infested the yams.
Another member reported that the subterranean termite in Lautoka, Fiji, has been identified as the exotic Asian subterranean termite, Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann). Coptotermes gestroi was also known as C havilandi Holmgren, and as the Philippine milk termite, Coptotermes vastator Light. It is endemic to Southeast Asia, but over the last century, human activity, primarily associated with shipping, has spread this termite species far beyond its native range. It was collected from islands in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, in Brazil, West Indian islands, southern Mexico, Florida and Hawaii. It has become a major pest wherever it has established.
Coptotermes gestroi has been reported damaging cassava near Lautoka.