Termites have straight antennae and two pair ofwings (front and back) that are of almost equal length.The abdomen of the termite is straight and broadly joined to the thorax .
Workers represent the majority of the colony population and are responsible for caring for eggs, constructing and maintaining tunnels, foraging for food and feeding and grooming of other members. They are white and soft bodied. Workers are best described as "little white wormy things" or "little white ants."
Soldiers are responsible for defending the colony. They are white, soft bodied with an enlarged, hardened head containing two large jaws, or mandibles, which are used as a weapon against predators.
Winged reproductives produce the offspring in the colony and swarm at certain times of the year. Colonies can have both primary reproductives (one king and one queen), and hundreds of secondary reproductives to assist in egg laying and colony growth.
The King termite assists the queen in creating and attending to the colony during its initial formation. He will continue to mate throughout his life to help increase the colony size.
The Queen termite creates the colony by laying eggs and tending to the colony until enough workers and nymphs are produced to care for the colony. She can live for more than ten years and produce hundreds of eggs each year. Colonies can each several million termites with the help of secondary queens who also produce eggs.
Although termites are soft-bodied insects, their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, a piece at a time.
Termites eat wood and other cellulose materials.Termites do not need a source of water.
Termites have a strict caste system, which consists of worker, soldiers, winged or reproductives, a Queen termite, and a King termite.
Termites are social insects.
Termites communicate primarily by secreting chemicals called pheromones. Each colony develops its own characteristic odor. An intruder is instantly recognized and an alarm pheromone is secreted that triggers the soldiers to attack. If a worker finds a new source of food, it lays a chemical trail for others to follow.
Sound is another means of communication. Soldiers and workers may bang their heads against the tunnels creating vibrations perceived by others in the colony and serving to mobilize the colony to defend itself. Mutual exchange of foods enhances recognition of colony members.
They like to live in warm regions of the world. They love wood! Termites do not need a source of water. They live off the water that is produced from the digestion of the cellulose. You can find their nests in damp soils or timbers but they do not require contact with the soil. They are social insects. Their colonies may contain up to 2,700 members. Colonies live within the wood.
Termites are social insects that live in highly organized colonies. Like many insects, termites have an egg, an immature and an adult stage. During the two-week incubation period, eggs are tended by the worker termites. The nymph hatches directly from the egg. Attendants feed nymphs regurgitated food for the first two weeks, enabling them through molting to become workers, soldiers, reproductives, or supplementary reproductives.The nymphs pass through 7 phases before reaching adulthood.
There are three main types of adult colony members, or castes: reproductives, workers and soldiers. The reproductives include the king and queen, and in large colonies, supplementary reproductives that produce eggs. Workers are usually the most numerous individuals in the colony. They are small, wingless and whitish and may be found in damaged wood. Workers care for all of the other termites and forage for food (wood). The soldiers protect the colony from attackers such as ants.
Check here for pictures of the dry-wood termite.
Termites are recyclers of trees. They enrich soil. By decomposing wood into small particles, the wood rots more quickly,thereby becoming part of the soil.This helps new plants grow.
Termites are an important food source for many animals. They are eaten by birds, bears, turtles, and salamanders.
They eat houses and buildings! They cause millions ofdollars worth of damage every year for homeowners.
Termites often infest buildings and damage lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage is the loss of structural strength.
Around the world, lots of
people eat termites (it isn't as crazy as it sounds,
winged termites are very nutritious , and especially when lightly fried, reasonably
tasty). Termites are important in the diets of many ants, lizards and birds and there are quite a few specialist feeders such as aardvarks, aardwolves and numbats, but did you know that they are also eaten by lions and gorillas?