From the second edition (1989):
(ˈtɜːmiːz) Pl. termites (ˈtɜːmɪtiːz). [mod.L. (Linnæus 1748), a. late L. termes (Isidore) a wood-worm, earlier also tarmes, f. root of L. terere, Gr. τείρ-ειν to rub, bore.]

= termite.

[1706 Phillips (ed. Kersey), Termes, (Lat.)‥also a little Worm commonly call'd a Death-watch; a Maggot, or Gentle.] 1781 Termites [see termite]. 1800 Asiat. Ann. Reg. 5/2 The termes, or what is called the white ant, infests this island. 1834 Pringle Afr. Sk. viii. 287 The termes of South Africa is not the destructive species.