Similarities between termites and cockroaches

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March 10, 2022

Heather Erskine Patterson

Heather Erskine Patterson

This is the Cockroach Tips & Tricks section, but here we get a bonus pest. You may have heard that “termites are social cockroaches,” but what do entomologists mean by that?

The discussion to switch termites out of the order Isoptera and into the cockroach order Blattodea started some time ago (2007), yet the reasons why aren’t widely discussed.

Being the voracious omnivores they are, cockroaches have a diverse diet that, like termites, includes coprophagy (consuming communal fecal matter). A critical common thread between termites and cockroaches is the shared gut microorganisms, which help with nutrition and protection against pathogens. While in direct contact with other nestmates and sharing of pre- and post-digested food, both termites and cockroaches will unknowingly expose pesticide baits, particles, and residues to their fellow population or colony members. How helpful for pest management professionals (PMPs)!

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About the Author

Heather Erskine Patterson is a technical services manager for the product development team at Control Solutions Inc.

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