Termite Facts

Termite Facts

By: Johan

Termite fact # 1
One of the most well known termite facts is that these animals form social groups with specialised individuals. Termites are eusocial insects that form intricate social structures. A typical termite colony will consists of one or several egg laying queens, reproductive males, worker termites, soldier termites and nymphs.
Termite fact # 2
A less known and truly fascinating termite fact is how certain termite species farm fungicultures in their nests. Inside the termite nest, a garden consisting of specialized fungi from the genus Termitomyces will grow and be nourished by termite faeces. The termites will feed on the fungi, but the fungi spores will pass undigested through their intestines. The Termitomyces garden will therefore continually receive new spores that can germinate in fresh faecal matter.   

Termite facts # 3
Several types of termites are famous for their huge mounds. These mounds are especially noticeable in arid tropical savannas where they can reach up to 6 metres in height and form clearly distinguishable landmarks in the flat landscape. A majority of the mound building termite species will however live in nests that are shorter than 2 metres above ground.

Termites from the species Amitermes meridionalis and Amitermes laurensis build mounds with a particularly distinctive, wedge-shaped form. A well known, but not fully understood, termite fact is that the long axis of the wedge-shaped mound is always oriented north-south. Recent research indicates that this distinct shape might help in thermoregulation. The hot air that rises in the part of the mound that is located above ground will cause air to circulate inside the part of the mound that is located below ground. Keeping the temperature stable for the brood is especially important and the temperature around the brood will typically flex no more than plus or minus one degree Celsius in a day. Thermoregulation is also of imperative importance for termite colonies that keep fungi gardens.

Termite fact # 4
Plants that grow in environments where termites are present will sometime develop advanced termite defence mechanism. One such method involves filling the wood cell walls with potent chemicals that will make it hard for the termites to digest the cellulose. One example of such a chemical is lignin.

Several species of tree produces special oils and resins that provide them with really strong termite protection. The heartwood timber can be remarkably dense; a feature cased by resin accretion. One example of such a tree species is Eucalyptus camaldulensis, an eucalyptus tree that grows in an environment where plenty of termites are present.  

A very interesting termite fact for home owners is that termite defence mechanisms developed by plants might be able to stop termite infestations in homes too. In 2005, a group of Australian researchers announced that their research had shown that termites shun treatments derived from a certain Eremophila species. The termites would rather starve than approach wooden samples that had been treated with Eremophila extract. If the termites are forced to stay near Eremophila extract, they become disoriented and can even die.

Termite Articles:

Termite Control
Termite Pest Control
Termite Inspection
Termite Home Inspection
Termite Inspection Cost


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