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Re: Termites

>Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 18:09:20 -0600
>From: Sharon <smh at tyler_net>
>Subject: Re: Termites
>> From: "Mach T. Fukada" <fukada at hawaii_edu>
>> Subject: Re: Termites
>> Then just break it appart and collect the termites.  But please keep in
>> mind that they could escape and take over your house and furnishings
>> (counters, dressers, desks, beds, etc...)
>> MTF
>This isn't true of all species of species of termites I'm told. There
>are subterranean termites that require dampness to survive and drywood
>termites as thier name implies will attack even dry wood.

I am not too sure which part you say is not true. I am speaking from
experiance.  If you take a good size chunk of a (Coptotermes formosanus)
subterranean colony above ground it will look for cover and take up
residence in any wooden structure, and it need not be connected to the
ground (there are colonies at the 20 floor in Waikiki) as they will secrete
a substance to build their tunnels to protect themselves from the harsh
environment pending their movement to a water source. Experimental colonies
are started in 5 gallon paint cans with sand and a section of 2x4.
Moistening the sand will help. In the lab they would continue to meander
around on the lab bench looking for a humid area (AC environment with low
humidity) and survive indefinitely.  Dry wood and subterranean are over
simplifications for the Kalotermitidae and Rhinotermitidae as some "dry
wood" termites feed on damp rotting wood (Incisotermes imagrans, Neotermes
sp.).  My point was that it is possible for a single pair of termites or a
single female termite to start a colony (not highly probable without
workers, etc but possible). Note they are not like bees, i.e. 1
reproductive female, with termites there can be many reproductives in a
colony and any worker could grow up to be a reproductive.  An thus it is
possible to start an infestation with a few that get loose in the house.
Admittedly, there is greater humidity in Hawaii and very possibly this will
improve the survival rates.  I do not see why any of the southern coastal
states would be different.

Other question.  Mating swarms.  Typically during the hot humid months in
the evening males and female take to the air on nuptuial flights.  Same for
both drywood and subs in Hawaii.  They prefer evenings with slight or no
breezes.  It is possible to collect a start a colony this way.  But it will
take a while to get going (years, and you thought the white worm starter
took forever).

Mach T. Fukada, Web Master
fukada at hawaii_edu
Honolulu Aquarium Society