A Contribution of ICAR National Fellow Project

Termite News from Indian Entomologist MagazineCovid, Compulsion coupled with Carelessness gave Termites A Free run to Ruin JNU Lab

Tools & Devices

A.   Tools for sampling termites

The equipment and materials are listed below those are in general required for the collection, sorting and identifying termites. Some are optional or may be substituted for others depending upon the situation.

Tools to open nests and wood, termites can be found in wood, in nests or soil. They are rarely found foraging surface. Therefore it is necessary to use tools; open timber and dig nests and soil, using picks, axes, hammers etc. These tools can be found in hardware stores and construction material.

Plastic trays: White plastic trays are very useful to screen soil and pieces of nests. They can be found, in scientific equipment shop and kitchen supply stores.

Forceps: Two types of watchmaker forceps are typically used in collecting termites. The watchmaker forceps tip can be found in fine watch making and scientific laboratory equipment shops.

Alcohol: For fixing termite specimens, it is necessary to dilute alcohol (ethyl alcohol) to 80% (volume basis). 

Vials: While selecting preserving/collection bottles or vials proper care must be given. These containers should be sufficiently air tight and seal proof otherwise the alcohol may evaporate or spill from the vials.

The vials may have the following capacity/features:

a)  between 5-10 ml volume,

b)  cover with good seal

c)  bottom right,

d)  wide mouth 
















Field tools for collecting termite samples from soil, trees or timber-in-service

A) Micro-centrifuge tubes (available for biotechnology works) can conveniently be used for termite specimen collection B) Stock bottle for ethyl-alcohol, C) Cello-tape for labelling task.










F) Bio-safety rack for stacking the termite vials; G) Air-tight containers for storing the fungal gardens of termites






Lab equipment/tools required in termite collection, preservation and identification

Labels and Notes

All labels should be made ​​with alcohol-resistant ink. The disposable ink pens are the best option because their ink is permanent and legible. Ballpoint pen should not be used because the ink does not stand up to moisture and alcohol. The use of pencil is not recommended because annotations are barely legible, especially in stickers, and pencils can be erased. Labels can be made manually with pen ink or laser printed. The traditional method is to use paper and pen.


A stereomicroscope (stereoscope) is essential for screening and study of termites. The magnification power must be at least 40×. The illuminator must be of good quality, preferably fiber optics. Transmitted illumination (optional base with lighting below) is very useful to examine the hairiness, but may be replaced by a small mirror underneath the petri-dish. 


Bait trapping by PVC pipe preparations can well be used to collect samples from the field.

C. Termite Rearing chamber

Termite rearing can be done successfully in situ, for two species O. obesus and H. indicola. Laboratory rearing was done for H. indicola.

D. Termatrac T3i

Functionality of this tool for Pest Management and Building Inspection Professionals is of importance. Termite ravaged areas can be identified using Remote Thermal Sensor with Laser Guide and/or the built in Moisture Sensor. It is patented product, accurately detects, confirms and tracks presence of termites indoor, and precisely locate nests, mud-tubes, and relevant entry points.  The Termatrac T3i sensor unit uses Bluetooth technology to transmit reading data to the portable display unit (android-based). Please visit the link for details.

Last Updated: 27-01-2021

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