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Termite Information

Termite Information

Termites, tur'mite's, a family of insects, commonly known as white ants. They live much like the ants, though really they have little relationship to them. They live in colonies, raising large dwellings, in the form of irregular pyramids or cones, to the height of ten or twelve feet. These structures are firmly cemented and are strong enough to bear the weight of several men. Each is divided into various apartments, chambers and galleries, which have their specific uses, like the rooms of a house. In every colony there are a king and a queen, both of which are much larger than the rest of the insects; they are constantly kept together in a large chamber in the heart of the hive, where they are attended by a detachment of workers. The queen, whose body is more than a thousand times larger than that of the king, lays the eggs at intervals, and workers carry them off to the small cells in which the larvae are reared. Only the king and queen have wings, except at certain seasons of the year, when a number of winged insects of both sexes are produced and leave the hive; they fly abroad and settle down to form new colonies. There seem to be two classes of neuters, the workers and the soldiers. It is the duty of the former to build the habitations, make covered roads, nurse the young, attend on the king and queen and manage the domestic affairs of the colony. The soldiers have powerfully developed mandibles, and they defend the community with desperate courage from any attacks. In the tropics, some species are terribly destructive, as they sometimes riddle all the timbers of a house before their presence is even known. One species of termites is native of the United States.

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