Termites are also known as 'wood ants' or 'white ants'. They are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera. They were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches during the Jurassic or Triassic. However, the first termites possibly emerged during the Permian or even the Carboniferous. About 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.
Termites are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. Termite queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens reportedly living up to 30 to 50 years. Unlike ants, which undergo a complete metamorphosis, each individual termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis that proceeds through egg, nymph, and adult stages. Termites are a delicacy in the diet of some human cultures and are used in many traditional medicines. Several hundred species are economically significant as pests that can cause serious damage to buildings, crops, or plantation forests. Termites are considered safe around trees as they keep area clean form different insects. But their bite can lead to severe pain. Termites are hard to get rid off without insecticides.