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Termites


Kevin
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I know someone posted about termites a long time ago asking if they can be raised and if anyone was successful. I have a few colonies of a really small species. I raise them for my dart frogs. I feed off 40-50 of them every week or 2. They really require no care.....Maybe some new wood every 4-5 months. I have had them about a year an a half here are some pics. Its like watching an ant farm almost.

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Kevin

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Fascinating! :blink:

Where did you get the termites?

Are they easy to get where you live - also the queen?

Is it a fresh-wood eating species (do you know the latin-name?)

Their cage looks rather small. How is it built-up?

BR/Ole

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I believe they are western subterranean termites, Reticulitermes hesperus. I collected them in the forest( about an hour away from me) They are a very small species. I have seen bigger species but I have no use for those! My darts need very tiny food. They typically have tunnels in the soil which go up into fallen logs. They use the soil for moisture. The containers that they are housed in are a little small. The main thing with them is to keep it moist and add wood as they break it down. Other than that they require no care...Kind of just set it and forget it. I started out with no queens but there were a few "larger" individuals which may be reproductives. I assume that once they lost the queen one or a few stepped up in her place. There are babies constantly in there so someone is reproducing :) The main thing to get the colony to live is to start out with as many individuals as possible.

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So you prefer the termites only because of size or also because their skin never hardens and turn black? Or is the neutricial value also a concern?

The wood, you add, it that fresh or decayed?

You spend only little time to study them?

Have you any guess of how many individuals are in there?

Sorry to keep asking, but your experience is so interesting.

Actually, you could have placed this thread under "General Blattodea discussion" because Itoptera (the termites) are no longer an order under Insecta, but a family under the order Blattodea.

So termites are now 'only' to be considered a social cockroach. The scientists are still arguing about how the 'tree' should be looking precisely, but the genetic connection have been established.

It has taken 100 years to get there and the whole history is quite fascinating. I just wrote an article about it to our magazine here in Denmark, Exotic Insects.

BR/

Ole

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Im not really sure how many are in each culture. I would guess at least a few hundred. Its kind of hard to study them because they stay inside the wood. The only time you can really watch them is from the bottom when they are in the burrows down in the soil. I keep them around solely for my frogs. There high in fat so they are good for fattening the frogs up. Fruit flies can only do so much for them. Its good to switch there diet up a bit as well. In my cultures I usually put in fist sized pieces or bigger of wood that is between. Not to broken down but yet has some holes in them. Usually from logs that were chopped up and have some holes from previous colonies. That way they are sort of started and easier for them. In one culture I placed 2 pieces of actually lumber (part of a 2 x4 ) and it took months before they actually went into. They seem to prefer their "natural" wood.

The 2 pictures of when I first set them up but gives an example of the wood.

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Kevin

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Interesting i should come back when i did, because i believe you are referring to a thread i started here about two years ago! I found a bunch of termites in a friend's garage and started a colony, unfortunately the amount i kept was too small and while they immediately went to work setting up tunnels, they didn't reproduce and the colony died off within 5 or 6 months. That said they were fascinating to watch, especially when one considers the far more rigid nature of termite colonies. One could identify the soldiers from the workers from the drones with no problem, while in say a bee hive or an ant colony the distinctions only exist between drones, queens and the rest (generally speaking).

I was told to double layer the containers as termites would actually chew their way out of the first so i had a small container in a larger container which had a bit of water in it, to guarantee nothing would be getting out of either. It doesn't appear you are having this problem though.

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I was told to double layer the containers as termites would actually chew their way out of the first so i had a small container in a larger container which had a bit of water in it...
Did you make any photos of your setup??

If the material is glass rather than plastic.... Did they actually get through the inner container??

BR/

Ole

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Did you make any photos of your setup??

If the material is glass rather than plastic.... Did they actually get through the inner container??

BR/

Ole

No it was plastic. I'm sure i have pictures of it somewhere i'd have to dig it up, but it was taken with my phone camera so it isn't that great. I'll post them when i find them.

They didn't get through the inner container, i wish i could find the original thread here but i remember being told that this was the best way to maintain them without them getting out and wrecking my house.

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I have heard the same thing about them chewing through the corners and escaping but I have not had any issues. These require so much moisture that I think if they did chew through they wouldn't make it very far before drying up. Haha and I was referring to your thread from 2 years ago! How funny hehe

Kevin

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hmmm Im actually not sure which type of tree the wood was from. The logs I get the wood from are all broken up so It would be hard to tell. Im guessing that it is an incense cedar, Calocedrus deccurens. But It could be pine or oaks. Those are the main trees in that area. I have given one colony a piece I cut off a 2 by 4 piece of lumber. It took them months before they finally started taking an interest into it. It is two pieces on top of each other. At this point they drilled from the bottom up into the middle between the 2 pieced of wood and burrow around in between them.

Kevin

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I have seen reproductives just not the winged reproductives. Which is fine by me! I constantly see little baby termites in there so I know someone took over as the queen. When looking at them you can see the secondary reproductives because they are slightly bigger and fatter looking.

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