This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Winwood Reade says, that, even for a man of science, there is much that is disappointing in the tropics. At home we see the beautiful flowers of the torrid zone massed together in the greenhouses, but nowhere in Africa, Brazil or the Indian Archipelago, can we find such a luxury of color as that displayed by field and forest vegetation in England and the United States. And similarly with insects. The entomologist soon discovers that fewer insects are visible in the tropical woods than in English groves or meadows. He is not disappointed in the ants, however, of which there are many species, each in some way annoying to man. The white ants of Africa are especially destructive to the woodwork of houses. " It is related of a resident upon the coast that, on going home for a few months, he locked up his house instead of lending it to an acquaintance, as is usually done. But the selfish old gentleman thought that his furniture would keep better for not being used. When he returned he unlocked his front door and gave a push. His hand went through. Ditto with all the other doors of his house.
Such are the white ants."