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Cockroaches and Termites

(Order: Blattodea)

Over 580 species of cockroaches within six families recorded in Australia, including several introduced species, which are common pests around residential and commercial buildings. The ‘pest’ species feed largely on human foodstuffs and waste and are known to spread a number of dangerous diseases to humans. The native species are not considered dangerous to humans, living within the ground litter and under the bark of trees. Can vary greatly in size (up to 70mm), but all have generally broad body and pronotum (frontal shield) partly covering head. Head has downward facing mandibulate mouthparts. All nymphs and some adults lack wings, but wings of species with winged adults are membranous, the forewings toughened and overlapping when not in use.

The termites were formerly classified under the order Isoptera, but are now classified together with cockroaches, with five families and around 270 species in Australia. Form large multicaste colonies, comprising a single reproductive pair (queen and reproductive male), workers, soldiers and nymphs, which can be formed within timber or in constructed small to large mounds. Subterranean or arboreal, feeding on dead grass and timber. Most members of the colony are wingless, with winged reproductive caste (alates) appearing only to disperse away from parent colony to breed and establish new colonies.

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