The most well-known places of termites’ inhabitat are Africa, Australia, Asia, Madagascar, and two parts of America – South and Central. It is said there is about 3000 number of termite species in the world. As these insects are quite dangerous for people’s living it is a must to know more about them. And today we will concentrate on African termites facts and you will understand why.

The most common types of African termites

Of course, we can not mention all hundreds of species living on the African continent, but we will show the most widespread.

Hodotermitidae is a kind of termite living in Africa and Asia, especially in India. They are also called African harvester termites. These insects are great destroyers and eat forage crops in inhabitant areas. They can be of average or quite big size – from 10 to 20 mm. Their soldiers are comparable in size to the workers' caste. A special characteristic of this type – the workers of this type are the only in the world who have eyes. People can notice African flying termites of this kind during summer evenings when they move from the nest to continue reproduction.

Apicotermes also live in Africa. They are outstanding for their underground termitories. This nest is built by workers and made of ground, wood, saliva, and excrement. There are more than 200 types of this termites. The majority of them do not have a soldier caste.

Subterranean is South African termites. In this region, more than 15 types of termites were found. They are generally ground-dwelling or require contact with the soil or some constant source of moisture and are the main threat posed to timber in the built environment.

Macrotermes are the biggest among reproductive species, it goes both about females and males. African termites size is notable because of this very type as they are the largest in the world. Their length with wings is about 45 mm. The existence of two working castes makes this type outstanding. The pleasant conditions for these termites’ development are created with the absence of predators. As a result, a lot of food is left and these insects can grow and reproduce easily. Also, the mentioned physical characteristics help Macrotermes to fight with other types of termites and insects successfully. Some signs of such opposition exist.

3 interesting details about African termites

  • There are about 1000 kinds of termites who live in Africa, which means the variety of these bugs on this continent is the biggest in the world. 
  • More than a half of African termites do not have soldiers’ caste.  
  • These insects play an important role in African life, providing protein for animals.

Edible African termites: myth or reality?

The termites living in savannas are also known as popular food. There were some researches made by British, French and other scientists who studied the importance of termites in Africans’ lives. As a result, they have found the methods of catching and cooking these insects. Usually, these bugs are cooked without oil and then kept in banana leaves. People have learned how to attract the termites and use these methods regularly. 

Termites who build mounds: insects with a complicated house

Mound-building termites are West African termites. The buildings they construct help termites to keep the favorable conditions inside when the temperature reaches about 30°C. It is necessary for fungi growing – termites eat them. To create the airflow termites make small tunnels inside.
Also, there is a protecting function. Such mounds help to win in African ants vs termites fight. While workers provide the right temperature and the presence of food, soldiers are responsible for fighting with ants. They release a sticky substance and make enemies unable to move. Of course, soldier caste consists of bigger and stronger species. 

Inside a mound, there is also a special “room” for the queen and the chamber where all the termites are produced. There is a difference between mounds built in the forest and those that are constructed by termites of African savanna (the second ones have thin walls).

Summary
  • The most common African termites scientific names are Hodotermitidae, Apicotermes, Subterranean and Macrotermes.
  • Some types have a workers caste with eyes.
  • These insects are edible.
  • They are the largest in the world.
  • These termites build complicated houses called mounds.