Termite as Pollinator? Fossil Specimen Captures the Act

termite in amber with milkweed flower

As far as insect reputations goes, termites are typically known as pests. They get little of the adulation heaped on their pollinator cousins. But a new discovery of a fossilized termite in amber might give reason to see termites in a different light. As reported in the Spring 2017 issue of American Entomologist, a termite […]

In Subterranean Termite Colonies, Older Workers Change the Diapers

By Thomas Chouvenc Well, they don’t exactly change diapers, but when it comes to the latrine and nest sanitation, old termites are in charge. Age polyethism, where workers change tasks as they age, is an elegant way for social insect colonies to effectively allocate tasks to different individuals, usually giving the more risky duties, such […]

Ant and Termite Fossils Indicate Advanced Sociality 100 Million Years Ago

Insects that are “eusocial” live in colonies with closely related nestmates and display social behavior, including a division of labor. The best-known examples are honey bees, termites, and ants. All eusocial insects display the following three traits: 1) They cooperate while caring for their young, 2) there is a division of labor among different castes […]

Some Types of Wood Contain Natural Chemicals that Are Toxic to Termites

By some estimates, termites cause about $40 billion per year in damage globally, and they destroy parts of more than 600,000 homes in the United States alone. The amount of wood a single colony destroys depends on the type of termite and the type and condition of the wood. For example, the heartwood of some […]

Termite Experts Attempt to Solve Taxonomic Cold Cases

By Richard Levine Coptotermes is one of the most economically destructive genera of termites, and it includes the Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus). For years, taxonomists have struggled with a long list of described species around the world. As some species were described multiple time, species names were gradually removed from the list, which was […]