Termites share certain physical traits that distinguish them from ants or other pests. They lack a pronounced “waist.” Termites have straight antennae that look like strings of tiny beads. Their hind ends are rounded. Only the reproductive members have functional eyes; workers and soldiers are blind and lack eyes.
Termites are eusocial insects classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. Termites were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate they evolved from a close ancestors of cockroaches. Approximately 3,106 species are currently described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are often called white ants, they are not ants.
Do you know how much damage do termites cause around the world each year? According to a citation in a report on a new hybrid termite from the University of Florida (UF), termites are responsible for global economic loss of $40 billion. Most of the damage is caused by two species found in the U.S. who created hybrid colonies in South Florida.