The Ultimate How Termites Work Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Termites have a bad rep for destroying homes, but are they actually that bad? What do you really know about the lowly termite? Learn more about this adaptable insect and how termite colonies function as a giant cooperative community by taking this quiz.

For how many years do experts believe that the termite has existed?

They believe that termites have been around for about 50 million years. Evidence of termite existence has been found in many fossils.


Approximately how many termite species live in the world today?

There are close to 3,000 termite species. In Africa and Australia, termites build enormous mounds that can last longer than the colony itself can survive.


Where can termites not live?

Termites are most common in tropical environments, although they can live just about anywhere as long as the ground does not completely freeze in the winter. People commonly believe that termites are a form of ant, but they are closely related to cockroaches.


How many castes or groups do termites fit into within a colony?

There are three castes or groups within every termite colony. The members of each caste have different jobs and quite different physical features.


Approximately how many members of a terminate colony are reproductive termites?

Most terminate colonies have only one king and queen that are responsible for all egg production. In some species, there are secondary or tertiary reproductives that assist with reproduction.


How do termites find their way around in the nest and when seeking food?

Only the king and queen have eyes, the rest of the termites are blind and navigate using scent in addition to moisture trails. Kings and queens are also usually darker than the rest of the termites in their colony.


Is there an obvious difference in appearance between a soldier termite and a worker termite?

In most species, soldiers have large heads and strong, pincer-like mandibles, while soldiers' heads are often darker than their bodies. Some species can a secrete toxic substance from their heads.


What function do workers perform in a termite colony?

Worker termites feed the king, queen and soldiers, who are unable to feed themselves. Workers have smaller, saw-toothed mandibles, which allow them to take small bites of wood and carry building materials.


What are the mating habits of the king and queen of most species of termites?

In most species, the king and queen are monogamous. Although the queen can store sperm in her body, she continues to mate with him periodically.


What part of wood does a termite’s food come from?

Termites get their food from the cellulose in wood, which is a compound made of identical glucose molecules.


If cellulose is a plant sugar, why is it that humans do not also eat wood?

Humans lack the special protein enzyme called cellulase required to break down the sugars in cellulose. Termites do not have cellulase either, but they use microorganisms consisting of bacteria and protozoans to break down cellulose fibers.


Into how many categories do the organisms found in a termite’s hindgut divide termites?

There are two categories of termites, called the higher termites and the lower termites. Higher termites have bacteria in their gut but no protozoans, while lower termites have bacteria and protozoans.


What is a significant feature of termites that gives them great survival agility?

Termite eggs hatch into larvae, and through a series of molts, the larvae develop into workers. The workers can undergo a two-stage molt and become soldiers and older termites can even undergo regressive molts and revert to an earlier stage.


What happens when part of a termite colony swarms?

Some workers molt into winged adults called alates, from the Latin word for "wing." The alates gather at an entrance to the colony and prepare to make their only flight, known as a nuptial flight, at which point they resemble winged ants.


What happens to the alates after they make their nuptial flight?

After a male and female alate form a pair, they land and break off their wings. They look for shelter, typically in a small hole or depression that's near both soil and wood, then they seal this nest with saliva, soil and their own waste before mating.


What percentages of termite species are beneficial to our planet and not destructive to homes at all?

Many people think of termites as aggressive destroyers of homes and property, but about 90 percent of termite species are beneficial. They consume, digest and make use of dead and dying vegetation and some species also eat the waste of herbivores, which can contain undigested cellulose.


What species of destructive and aggressive terminate was introduced to the United States by accident after World War II?

The accidentally imported Formosan termite colonies are bigger than native colonies, queens lay thousands of eggs each day, and a colony can include millions of workers. This invasive species is more aggressive, seeks ways to defeat termite barriers and there are more soldiers in each colony.


How long can a pre-building treatment of the soil at a construction site kill and repel termites?

Professional pest-control companies can treat the ground at a building site with a substance that kills or repels termites. This treatment usually offers protection against termites for at least five years.


How can you tell termites in the form of alates apart from ants?

Ant antennae are bent, while termite antennae look like a fine, straight string of pearls. Ants have narrow waists, but termites do not; termite wings are all the same length, where ants have front wings that are longer than the back wings.


What is a sure sign that termites have invaded your home?

Termites will build shelter tubes up cinderblocks, concrete, brick and other surfaces in order to get to your wood. Sometimes, if you break the tubes open, you will see live termite workers inside.


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