1902 Encyclopedia > Ant > Exodus or Swarming of Termites

(Part 15)


(C) Termites / White Ants (cont.)

Exodus or Swarming of Termites

The exodus or swarming of the Termites appears to resemble more nearly that of the bees, although like that of the true ants, it is more purely reproductive in its nature, and not so much connected with the departure of fully grown forms from a hive which has become inadequate to the comfortable accommodation of all its inmates.

The larvae, prior to the swarming, are fed and tended by the workers, the youngest larvae receiving the greatest share of attention. the workers apparently feed the larvae by injecting a fluid from their mouths into the larval cells; and in about a year after the deposition of the eggs the larvae become fully grown, and the period of the exodus arrives.

The exodus generally takes place on damp evenings, or cloudy mornings, and may extend over several days, or until such time as all the males and females have emerged from the nest. Having reached the ground, the wings of each ant are shed by a natural effect -- a seam or place of separation existing at the roots of the wings -- and after the throwing off of the wings, the surviving males and females pair, and become the parents of new colonies.

Many fall victims to the attacks of enemies, as spiders, bats, lizards, toads, and goat-suckers.
The pairs that survive take up their abode in some secluded situation, as under leaves, or under a clod of earth; there the females become impregnated, and by-and-by a hive and its population are produced.

The Termites serve an important purpose, in the particular areas of the world they inhabit, in disintegrating, removing, and destroying decaying wood.

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