A network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests.
PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
January 2014. A member from Egypt sent images of subterranean termites. There are three small tubes make by the termites. A request was made for information on biology and economic importance.
A reply came from an expert from the University of Singapore. The photos show the building of flight tubes for alates (winged reproductives) about to embark on their nuptual flight. The alates are produced only once a year, and grow to maturity simultaneously. The alates group in special chambers in the days before flight. This is why you find them only sometimes, but in the same season.
The photos are not clear enough to identify the species. That said, there is a relatively short list of possible species – eight species of subterranean termites in Egypt, so I can hazard a guess. Your location is arid with sandy soils (from the photos) and is near to the Suez Canal. Thus, I think it is probably Psammotermes hypostoma. This species is from the lower termite family, the Rhinotermitidae. It is a wood eater, but will eat just about any cellulosic material.
The soldiers should be photographed using a macro lens to allow confirmation of the genus, and samples sent to Singapore.