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Termites these are also known as “ants”, a comical statement about them,‘a termite walks into a bar and asks’, “Is the bartender here?”
Interestingly, the mass of all the termites in the world goes beyond the mass of all humans on the earth collective! These social insects have been in the region of this planet since the era of dinosaurs. Termites are social creatures; it means that a termite lives in a colony. Scientists believe that the termite social organization is the main cause that it has flourished in nearly every regions of the world. The size of the termite is in the range from typically measure between 1/4 and 1/2 of an inch long. Their members are best explained as “tiny white things” or “minute white ants” that are frequently present in moist, decaying wood.
It has been recognized for an era that termites are intimately associated with cockroaches. Moreover, researches and other taxonomical data established that termites are social cockroaches. They have been living in this globe for more than 100 million years. The reason why termites are disgusting for some of us is that they share a common ancestor with cockroaches.
The color of the termite varies from white to brown to black according to their species. Termites are the most flourishing group in the earth they make massive colonies on dry wood, animal ordure, and plants.
Types of Termites:
There are three different types of termites.
These termites make large colonies. They are known as destructive termite because they eat wood so rapidly.
Dry Wood Termites:
They form multiple colonies so it is difficult to get rid of them. They rely on wood only they do not require soil for moisture.
Damp Wood Termites:
They are the largest termites and cause severe damage to wood.
They have great importance on our ecological system. Not all the animals have the ability to digest cellulose but termite have. They have microorganisms and powerful mitochondria which help to digest cellulose. Termite in the tropical and subtropical region plays a vital role to grow forest faster by decomposing dead trees which makes the soil fertile. Termite takes part in nitrogen fixation by digesting the nutrients and separating the nitrogen. The nitrogen-enriched soil gives life to the plants.
Caste System of Termites
King and Queen, Secondary reproduction, Workers, Soldiers
King and Queen:
A termite queen’s tummy is made for reproducing egg-laying in bulk and is capable of producing over 30,000 termite eggs per day. The two mature ovaries have some 2000 ovarioles each which release eggs. One of them can produce almost 10 million eggs per life. That’s actually an extremely large quantity as compared to other egg-laying animals such as hens that only lay between 150 and 300 eggs each year. This terrifying information tells us how many termites are all around the world.
The king took care of the nest for two to three year. The king and queen are responsible to expand the colony and controlling caste. About 5-10 king mate spend time with the queen throughout her lifetime. The royal couple lives up to 50 years. They have eyes, they have bulky abdomen. Queen produces more than 2000 eggs per day. They are ⅓ inch to ⅜ inch long in size. Queens are yellow-brown. They have tougher skin then subterranean termite so they can resist in harsh environments.
If in case the king and queen died. Those worker termites become larger and never get their wings and become mature takes part in secondary reproduction to balance the reproduction rate. So they can produce equal numbers of eggs as the king and queen reproduce. Secondary reproduction female has smaller abdomen then the actual queen.
The worker’s termites are for the most basic and essential task. The make the colony safe from invaders. They build the nest and provide food for nestmate of the colony. Worker termite have to clean the nest by disposing of the dead bodies. Worker termite body consists of a soft white body with no eyes but they do have short antennae and six legs. They live approximately one to two years. They do have chances to become soldiers or to take part in reproduction if required.
Soldiers’ termites responsible are to protect the nest from intruders. The defense mechanism of soldier termites are slimy white substance secret from their fontanels (pore on the head) which tangled up the intruder into sticky substance and their overdeveloped mandibles also use for defense. These termites cannot feed themselves the worker termite to feed them. Soldier termites have segmented body, a flat abdomen, two pairs of wings, antennae. They live for over two years.
As alates (a winged insect such as an ant or termite) of a type having winged and wingless shapes) find the termites for mating they shed their wings seals themselves for the rest of their life. They secrete pheromones so the other termite will not be able to develop their reproductive organ. These are the only termites which have eyes, they have bulky abdomen. They have tougher skin then subterranean termites so they can resist in harsh environments. They live for over 50 years.
Termite behaviour differs from species to species. For example, dry wood termite wishes dry wood that is overground while subterranean termites form nests and colonies underground. Termites Consume a LOT of Foods. A termite never sleeps; it has plenty of time to eat. It’s estimated that an individual colony of termite can engulf up to 1,000 pounds of wood every year. That’s approx; the same quantity of wood as found in 650 baseball bats. Termites are detritivore so they mostly feed on dead organic material like plants trees but other than that they also eat paper, drywall, and plastics.
They communicate between nestmates through the scent. Each caste has a specific scent which is known as termite pheromones scent. This scent helps to communicate when any situation arrives as if any insect or an animal invade in their colony. So they create vibration and secret pheromones scent to protect the colony from danger. Termite secretes pheromones when they find food and they leave the scent throughout the path so the other termites can locate the path easily.
Termite Release a Large Quantity of Gas
Termites discharge methane gas that breaks down the timber that helps them to eat. Similarly, their waste and decay also produce gas. Ecologists say that termite liberates 150 million tons of methane gas each year. It supplies to air pollution that is affecting environmental change. Not only are the huge number of termite terrible for your home, but they are bad for the planet as well.
Besides the fact that the termites have great importance in our ecological system they made a great mess in human house once they kick into the wood they start infesting and making maze on wooden furniture, ceilings, and wall.
Locomotion and Defense:
The termite’s workers and the soldiers’ locomotion rely on legs their wings have not developed but as the termites grow toward maturity their wings started developing and when it fully developed they leave the nest to find the mate and spread their colony. When termite nest is attacked they pass vibration signals to their nestmates.They block the tunnel of their nest or in most of the cases; they rupture their body in an act of defense. They also release a sticky substance to trap the intruder.
The Termites Construct Enormous Mound:
A termite in the colony makes a massive mound, nests, and tubes to reside in. It works and travels within that mound. Their nests have been measured as huge as 12 inches across and that might be right in your surroundings. One of the mounds is discovered in the African region that is 42 feet high.