A team of researchers in Taiwan has developed software driven by machine learning to accurately identify specimens—both soldiers and workers—of four different termite species. Their goal is to enable smartphone app termite ID for pest management pros and adapt the software’s use to additional species.
A new report in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America details 34 species of fungi that specialize in parasitizing termites—an effort spurred by researchers puzzling over mysterious growths on the underside of termites collected in South America.
With multiple species of termites responsible for structural damage in the U.S., rapid identification is a critical part of management efforts. A team of researchers has developed a faster ID method that uses a genetic tool called inter-simple sequence repeats.
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.
A researcher studying termites' digging techniques says that understanding individual roles in collective activities can shine a light on the evolution of such behavior and how social insects perform simple tasks to ultimately construct complex structures.