Video: Termites

20Apr
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Work smart, work together, luck and success will follow ~ Dr. Mohsin Tiwana

The little creatures in the video don't need an introduction as most people know what they are, and the destruction they leave behind if they take up residence in your house! But did you know that termites play a vital role in the environment?

Kariega Termite Mound by Jo Haesslich

Interesting Facts About Termites

  • There are around 2,000 different termite species found in the world
  • Termites are a food source for many animals including aardvark, birds, and even carnivores like jackals
  • Termites have more protein per kilogram than beef or any other livestock
  • Termites take a huge amount of vegetation underground where they recycle it. This provides large amounts of nutrients for grass, trees and other plants
  • The little creatures make their mounds from soil particles. These structures are very hard and large animals often use them as a scratching post. Rhinos sometimes use them to sharpen their horns!
  • Termites aerate the soil by making a vast network of tunnels underground. This helps plant roots get more oxygen and makes them grow better.

Termite Colony Structure

Termite colonies are made up of three different castes or groups. These are the workers, soldiers and reproductives:

  • Workers have the job to stay inside the colony and maintain it all the time. They are also in charge of looking after the eggs and nymphs.
  • Soldiers have big head and jaw which are used to attack any intruders that try to enter or damage the colony.
  • Reproductives produce large amounts of eggs and ensure that the colony is always growing. Some of the reproductives are called alates, or more commonly called “flying ants”. You can sometimes see them flying after or before a rainstorm. The main purpose of alates is to find new areas to start colonies. They fly out of their current colony in their hundreds or even thousands to hopefully ensure that even a handful of individuals can start new colonies in new areas. Many are eaten by animals and birds who know that they are excellent protein sources.
Kariega Termite Colony Structure

At Kariega our safari guides sometimes offer termites to guests to eat! It might seem like a gross idea, but everyone who has tried it is pleasantly surprised at how yummy they are. If you were brave enough to eat a termite please let us know in the comments below or share your experience on our Facebook page, via Twitter and Instagram.

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