Life History and Habits

New colonies may be formed in various ways. By far the commonest method is swarming, in which large numbers of winged individuals (alates) leave the parent colony. The onset of swarming is closely correlated with climatic conditions. In tropical species it occurs typically at the onset of the rainy season, an adaptation that facilitates nest formation in the damp, soft earth for subterranean species. In species from temperate climates swarming occurs during the summer. Flights may occur at any time of the day, but for a given species there are frequently specific hours during which swarming takes place. Swarming may be temporarily postponed, however, if environmental conditions are unsuitable. The distance traveled by the alates is usually only a few hundred meters unless they are assisted by wind. It is at this time that termites are most susceptible to predators.

On landing individuals shed their wings, and a male is attracted (probably chemically) to a female, which he follows until she locates a suitable nesting site. After closing the entrance to the nest, the royal pair, as the founding pair is called, mate within a few hours or days. (Mating is, however, periodically repeated throughout the life of the pair.) Egg laying begins soon after the royal pair have become established, but the first batch of eggs is usually less than 20, and egg laying is not resumed until the young are capable of looking after themselves and feeding the queen. Initially only workers are produced but, as the number of individuals increases, soldiers differentiate. Alates are not produced until the colony is several years old while neotenics normally differentiate only if the primary reproductives are lost. The original royal pair may live for a considerable time (e.g., at least 17 years in Mastotermes) and, at maturity, a physogastric queen may produce up to 3000 eggs daily. It is likely, however, that such a high rate is not sustained on a year-round basis but is seasonal. The proportions of the different castes vary; for example, in Nasutitermes up to 15% of individuals may be soldiers whereas in many Kalotermitidae the fraction is less than

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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