Termites

There are at Earth such insects that are so not adapted to life on our planet that seem to be "newcomers" from other worlds. These are termites - creatures that perish from contacting water, can not live in an earthly atmosphere and transfer sunlight. Their only protection from the environment is a termitenik - a structure with a mass of chambers and ventilated corridors, with arches and arches. The size of the termite mound is enormous: at the base of 20-30 m their height can reach 15 m. If this height is compared with the size of the termite, it exceeds it by 6 thousand times. For people, this would be tantamount to building a house 20 times higher than the Ostankino Tower! Termites are common in tropical and subtropical regions and number more than 2900 modern species.

These are termites - creatures that perish from contacting water, can not live in an earthly atmosphere and transfer sunlight

Like all social insects, termites are clearly divided into three main groups: working individuals, individual soldiers and individuals capable of sexual reproduction, and the number of mature individuals in the colonies can range from several hundred to several million. Work termites have a soft white body, usually less than 10 mm in length. Eyes are reduced or absent. In contrast, reproductive individuals have a dark body and developed eyes, as well as two pairs of long triangular wings, which, however, are discarded after a single reproductive individual in flight.

Among the reproductive individuals in the nest are the king and queen. These are individuals that have already lost their wings and, sometimes, their eyes and performing reproductive function in the nest. The maturity queen can lay several thousand eggs a day. In the chamber of the queen there is a king who is only slightly more than a working termite. He continues to mate with the female for life, unlike, for example, ants, in which males die right after mating.

Among workers and soldiers, termites are equally divided by females and males. Work termites are engaged in foraging, storing food, caring for the offspring, building and repairing the colony. Soldiers are a special caste of working individuals, which has anatomical and behavioral specializations, primarily against the attack of ants. Many have jaws so enlarged that they are unable to feed themselves. The number of soldiers in the colony depends on the activity of the family and is usually a few percent of the total population.

All termites eat cellulose in one form or another, but it is those who eat wood that are particularly responsible for damage to buildings. Cellulose is a rich source of energy. Some types of termites cultivate mushroom gardens, growing a specialized mushroom in them, which is included in their diet. Approximately 10% of termite species are pests, bringing losses to the human economy, estimated in billions of dollars a year. Due to their food preferences, termites in some regions have become a real scourge for wooden buildings.

If termites have already entered the building, they are removed by insecticides. Another common method is spraying arsenic trioxide, a slow-acting poison used in Australia since the 1930s.

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