Psammotermitinae

Psammotermitinae are subterranean termites in the family Rhinotermitidae. They are found in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and eastward throughout parts of Asia. Members of this group are found in India and Pakistan.

These termites have a variety of names. In Egypt they are called "Sand Termites" In Kuwait they are known as "House Termites".

Like other subterranean termites, the termites of this group live in underground colonies. They move upward to the surface to find food. They attack buildings, trees, grass, and crops.

In parts of Africa, they attack grass and crops. These are some of the termites that are blamed for causing the bare patches called "Fairy Rings". The scientists are uncertain why plants do not grow back after the termites have removed the grass.

In Egypt, the termites that attack homes are Psammotermes hybostoma (Desneux). They move up from their soil nests and enter the structure. The amount of damage depends on the building material that was used to make the house.

In rural areas, the termites attack the mud bricks that the houses are built from. They eat the straw in the bricks. To prevent termite damage, scientists have tried mixing termiticide with the mortar that is used to build the houses. They have also experimented with limestone foundations to block the termites from getting into the walls of the house.

In the Northern Sinai area of Egypt, P. hybostoma attacks date palm trees. Scientists found that the termites were active every month during a two-year study. The termites make dirt galleries on the outside of the trees. Scientists found termites in the stems and in the frond bases of weak trees.

In addition to date palms, P. hybostoma have also been found attacking olive trees and acacia.

Scientists and government officials have experimented with insecticides to reduce the numbers of termite colonies. In some regions they have found that termite colonies seem to die after a prolonged period without rain. Scientists are studying this phenomenon to understand the exact cause.