6 Crucial Difference Between Bark Beetle and Termite with Similarities

What is the difference between bark beetle and termite?

Bark beetle and termites are insects found all over the world. They both make nests in tree trunks. Termites are destructive insects at the same time beneficial as they complete the ecosystem. Bark beetles also cause significant destruction to trees.

The main difference between bark beetle and termite is that bark beetles are not social insects while termites are social insects.

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Difference Between Bark Beetle and Termite

Comparison Table (Bark Beetle vs Termite)

Characteristics Bark beetle Termite
Classification They belong to the sub-family Scolytinae. They belong to infraorder Isoptera
Habitat They live in forested areas. They live in moist and warm places.
Behavior They do not form colonies as they are not social animals. They are social animals and live in colonies.
Damage They only damage trees where they build their nests. They damage both trees and buildings.
Male/female ratio Mostly more females are found in one nest The number of males and females are evenly distributed.
Reproduction They undergo complete metamorphosis. They undergo incomplete metamorphosis.

What is a Bark Beetle?

They are insects found throughout the world. They are cylindrical in shape. They are referred to as bark beetles because many species of bark beetles feed on the inside part of the tree back; the phloem.

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They reproduce in the inner bark of the tree. After the nest has been constructed the females will lay eggs in the nest. When they hatch to larvae, it bores into the bark of the tree making tunnels. When they hatch into adults they emerge from the bark.

Aggressive species will invade and kill healthy trees hence they are destructive insects as they destroy trees. They often attack trees that are already weakened by diseases, drought, or smog. Healthy trees produce sap that may contain insecticidal and fungicidal compounds that may end up killing the bark beetles.

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What is a Termite?

They are eusocial insects classified under infraorder Isoptera. They are found all over the world. They are divided into workers and soldiers that are sterile. The fertile males are the kings or drones and the fertile females are queens.

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The kings and the queens are for reproducing. The workers and the soldiers bring food to the nest and they also guard the nest. The workers collect food, the soldiers defend the nest.

They mostly feed on dead plant material and cellulose. They are major detritivores. Their ability to recycle wood is considered ecologically important.

They go through incomplete metamorphosis. The cycle starts with an egg, a nymph then an adult. The nymphs resemble small adults and they feed on the same thing adult termites feed on.

They are consumed by a wide variety of predators. Birds, mammals, centipedes, arthropods, and scorpions feed on termites.

They are blind and so communication occurs through chemical, mechanical, and pheromonal cues. The methods of communication are used in foraging, locating reproductive, construction of nests, recognition of nestmates, nuptial flights, locating enemies, and defending themselves.

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Main Differences between Bark Beetle and Termite

  1. Bark beetles belong to the subfamily Scolytinae while termites belong to infraorder Isoptera.
  2. Bark beetles appear to be having about 60 females in a nest with one male while termites have an even sex distribution.
  3. Bark beetles are known for damaging trees while termites are known for damaging trees, buildings, and other structures made from wood.
  4. Bark beetles do not appear to live in colonies and socialize while termites live in colonies and are social animals.
  5. Bark beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis during reproduction while termites undergo an incomplete metamorphosis during reproduction.
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Similarities between Bark Beetle and Termite

  1. They are both insects.
  2. They both cause destruction.
  3. They both feed on plant matter.
  4. They both lay eggs.
  5. Both have segmented bodies.

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In Conclusion

Bark beetle and termite are all insects. They build their nests in trees but termites also build in buildings. They are known to be destructive animals are they destroy anything made of wood. Bark beetles destroy trees as they make tunnels where to live. Termites destroy trees, furniture, and any other wooden item in the house. The main feature that makes bark beetle be different from termite is their interaction nature.

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