The Termites

Common Name: The termites

Type: Insect

Family: Termitidae

Range: Termites can be found across 70 percent of the world and they survive in several environmental zones. They are available from more than 250 million years, adjusting to most any climate. Found in every U.S. state except Alaska. There are five major types of termites throughout the United States: Eastern Subterranean termites, Western Subterranean termites, Desert Subterranean termites, Formosan Subterranean termites and Dry wood termites. These insect are available along the low land of most Central America, including Costa Rica. It can be found almost all through the country of Costa Rica. They are also available in the National Parks like Santa Rosa National Park, Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Guanacaste National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Cahuita National Park, and La Amistad International Park.

Size: They are Long, oval and narrow. Their color is brown and the queen has a length from 30 to 60 mm long but the workers have length from 3-4 mm. They have 6 legs and they have four wings also.

Weight: All is depend on maturity and colony development but for a live (wet) mass of between 1.5 and 2.5 mg with something around 2.1 as common.

Diet: All the Termites normally feed on wood and play an important task in nature by converting dead trees into organic substance. Unfortunately, termites do not recognize the difference between dead trees and the wood in the home. An average subterranean termite colony can consume 5 grams of wood daily. Dampwood termites like to live and feed in very moist wood.
Termites often infest buildings and make heavy damage to wood panels, Sheetrock, wallpaper, flooring, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage, they can made is the loss of structural strength. Subterranean termites do not damage live trees.

Average life span: The queen and king in a colony can live for 10 to 30 years, while workers live for about two years. The average life span is around 15 years.

Habitat: They live at tall trees in tropical rainforest of Costa Rica. Because they need lots of moisture, Dampwood Termites usually live in damp, dying wood or in houses with leaking plumbing that keeps the wood wet. They are available to the mangrove forest also.

Breeding/Reproduction: Termite breeding usually takes place during spring although breeding is triggered by climate conditions and season. Moist and warm air is the best environment for the reproductive process (known as swarmers). There are king and queen who are responsible to in crease the population. Termite queen Lays 1 egg every 15 seconds.

The termites in this genus can survive in trees in most lowland tropical habitats from rainforest to savanna to mangrove forest. These insects can be found along the lowlands of most of Costa Rica. Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste National Park, Rincon de la Viejas National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, and La Amistad International Park. The three castes of termites in a colony have different functions and physiques.

The soldiers have small brown bodies with dark heads and a long, pointed snout or beak used to squirt a defensive chemical usually. Workers are a similar size and shape, but have a rounded pale head and squirting snout. The queen of them is enormous with an abdomen full of eggs and fat. She looks nothing like the workers and soldiers. She has a long yellowish body and cannot move herself. The most abundant tropical termites in the Americas, some Nasutitermes termites build their large, dark nests on tree trunks or large branches also. Other termites in the same genus nest directly out from the ground, and there are species that even nest underground. A tree nest can be larger than a football, and up close like it is made out of sealed bits of paper. This is carton, a mixture of digested wood and termite feces that hardens into a strong, protective chemical material.

The termites travel from the nest to rotting trees where they search for food. They build tunnels covered in carton down the side of their home, over the forest floor, and to the food trees also. The tunnels are distinctly a termite trait. Which helps distinguish the termite nests from ant or wasp nests? That can look similar high up in a tree. One colony can have 5 or 7 thousand termites. One species, Nasutitermes cornier, can have giant nests with up to 1.2 million termites. Soldiers flood out of the nest when the colony is attacked or in any danger, and expel a sticky, thick chemical called naught glue from their snouts that smells like turpentine and is very irritating to the skin, particularly to the nose and mouth. This protection is effective against anteaters and several other creatures. The workers, meanwhile, stay protected deep in the nest where they take care of the brood as well as the queen. They are not able to produce the naught glue but in swarms their biting can be a good deterrent also.

There is only one queen in the colony, and her job is mainly to lay eggs. Arboreal termites get most of their nutrition from decaying wood material, which they chew up and bring back to the nest for themselves and others. Generally workers are 3 to 4.5 mm in length. Soldiers are approximately the same size as workers. Queens can be 25 to 62 mm long. Termites have a series of stomachs, each harboring a distinct community of microbes under defined conditions. These bugs within bugs are tasked with particular steps along the conversion pathway of woody polymers to sugars that can then be fermented into fuels. The mandibles of the insect chomp the wood into bits, but the real work is conducted in the dark recesses of the belly.

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