Termites’ wood-heavy diet offers little nitrogen, a critical nutrient for growth and reproduction. But their exoskeletons are nitrogen rich, and new research shows that eating shed exoskeletons after molting is a core strategy for recycling nitrogen throughout the termite colony and boosting the queen’s egg-laying.
Termite baits can wipe out a colony in about 90 days, but the colony's eggs are gone by day 30. Why? A new study investigates and fills in a missing piece of the puzzle in understanding how termite colonies collapse when exposed to a chitin synthesis inhibitor.
In a colony of eastern subterranean termites, as many as 70,000 termites may die every day. Dealing with all those corpses is critical to colony health, and a new study reveals how the primary methods for termite undertakers—burying corpses or eating them—vary by caste.
Subterranean termite colonies can be as large as 1 million individuals with a foraging territory and underground galleries stretching up to 100 meters long. How does an entomologist study something that large? Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how researchers at the University of Florida have raised entire termite colonies from scratch and devised experimental setups that mimic large foraging and nesting areas while still fitting inside a lab.
How did a ground-dwelling insect like the termite Macrotermes gilvus get from mainland Myanmar all the way out to the islands of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia? The answer lies in ancient land bridges.