Termites are important soil engineers, responsible for decomposing organic matter, recycling nutrients, and creating habitats for other organisms. But some species cause damage, including several genera that attack cacao trees. These include termites belonging to the genera Macrotermes, Nasutitermes, Microcerotermes, Ancistrotermes, and Coptotermes. Some are mound-builders, while others construct carton nests of faeces and wood on tree trunks, or small dome-shaped mounds on trees. Twenty years ago, the termite Macrotermes bellicosus was not thought to damage cacao, but today, it is considered a major pest of the crop, responsible for significant damage to seedlings and even mature trees. This chapter examines termite biology and looks at how they damage cacao trees and what can be done to manage the problem.
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