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Termite Hut journal


25 replies to this topic

#1 Offline rdurham02 - Posted September 23 2017 - 3:42 PM

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After being marginally successful during the past year raising ants, I have decided to try my hand at termite husbandry. Perusing the limited info. on the internet on keeping termites as pets (this site has been the most informative btw), I made a design that I thought would be aesthetically appealing as well as of course meet the various needs of it's inhabitants (going with Zootermopsis sp.. probably.. https://www.wardsci....g_number=876160). 

 

IMG 1108
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Going with a cylinder within a larger cylinder design..credit to dspdrew for inspiration. 
 
IMG 1112

Lid I crafted from an embroidery loop and some mesh..seems superfluous given termites limited climbing abilities but it will put "the boss's" mind at ease about having termites in the house

 

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Here I formed a piece of cork around the inside container to serve as cellulose food source..this was just a test to see how it would look
 
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Poured hydrostone layer at bottom of glass vase container and submerged bottom portion of inner container in the hydrostone. Inner container I also partially filled with some sphagnum for increased humidity. 
 
I plan on pouring a substrate mixture layer tomorrow once the hydrostone dries/cures at the bottom of where the cork panel will go. 

 

 


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#2 Offline rdurham02 - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:08 AM

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IMG 1114
 
Finished product today..from bottom to top layers are: hydrostone, thin layer of coco fiber, thicker layer of zoomed burrowing substrate, and then the piece of cork on top. Now just awaiting it's inhabitants!  :D 

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#3 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:33 AM

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Very nice! Good luck!


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Hawaiiant (Ben)

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#4 Offline rdurham02 - Posted September 24 2017 - 10:28 AM

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Very nice! Good luck!

Thank ya!



#5 Offline Ant Broski - Posted September 24 2017 - 10:38 AM

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That looks amazing. Hope the termites enjoy it!
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#6 Offline rdurham02 - Posted September 24 2017 - 11:55 AM

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That looks amazing. Hope the termites enjoy it!

My hopes as well  :lol:



#7 Offline rdurham02 - Posted September 30 2017 - 12:09 PM

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Termites are in! I ended up going with some eastern subterranean termites from a source I found on dendroboard. I really wanted to collect my termites by myself as I have done with ants but from what I can gather termites are rather rare throughout Maine as they do not fare well in the harsh winters. I am not an expert (yet!) on termite behavior but they appear to be doing well during their first few days in "the Hut". 

 

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IMG 1123

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#8 Offline rdurham02 - Posted October 30 2017 - 3:05 PM

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After a month of seemingly doing well this colony has collapsed and died off. Not sure of the cause and given my limited experience with termites I may never know. I think I will revise my design somewhat and try again with my original plan on keeping a Zootermopsis sp..  :| 



#9 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 30 2017 - 3:06 PM

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EST needs lots of humidity and rotting wood, and often needs some sort of springtail in their nest to clean up dead bodies.


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#10 Offline LC3 - Posted October 30 2017 - 3:30 PM

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I'm not sure if both Zootermopsis or R. flavipes can feed on cork. For one it comprises the outer bark of the cork oak tree, both of these species prefer the inside heart wood and surrounding tissue and normally will leave bark alone. Cork is also apparently waxy and water resistant according to Google. Plus cork is pretty processed and although I don't know how it is processed, termites are very sensitive to environmental changes. 

 

Under normal circumstances R. flavipes (And most other termites) are capable of altering its environment, either in too much moisture or too little moisture. The fecal excrements of termites have antifungal properties. Dead termites will either be sealed off or eaten by nestmates. 


Edited by LC3, October 30 2017 - 3:31 PM.

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#11 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 30 2017 - 5:48 PM

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Yeah, but in an enclosed environment, the corpses remain and rarely decompose on their own, thus introducing harmful bacteria (this happened with my colony).


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#12 Offline rdurham02 - Posted October 31 2017 - 5:30 AM

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Thanks for the info. guys! It will be helpful in my future with termites (Termite Hut II-TBA). 


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#13 Online T.C. - Posted October 31 2017 - 8:05 AM

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They were actually doing quite well there. Gonna have to try again. ;)


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#14 Offline rdurham02 - Posted November 1 2017 - 12:43 PM

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They were actually doing quite well there. Gonna have to try again. ;)

Yeah I am making plans to make another attempt soon. Thanks T.C.!  :D



#15 Offline Chicken_eater100 - Posted November 1 2017 - 12:45 PM

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Has anyone had a successful colony for more than a few years?

#16 Offline rdurham02 - Posted December 5 2017 - 1:07 PM

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Has anyone had a successful colony for more than a few years?

I have seen accounts/journals of successful colonies littered throughout the internet, so I know it is possible. I made a newbie mistake on my part and probably starved out my colony inadvertently since I didn't take into account the colony could not or would not ingest cork material :(



#17 Offline LC3 - Posted December 5 2017 - 7:21 PM

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I would suggest using douglas fir if possible, since Zootermopsis naturally feeds on the stuff and R. flavipes has a pretty versatile diet. Zootermopsis also feeds on pine. Pine is full of oils and resin so it may not work for R. flavipes (not sure if it actually affects them though). Try to avoid hardwoods since they have a harder time eating it and it would be harder to work with anyways.


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#18 Offline Hunter - Posted December 6 2017 - 5:19 AM

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how did you find termite in Maine, or did you buy just workers


Edited by Hunter, December 6 2017 - 5:21 AM.


#19 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted December 6 2017 - 5:52 AM

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They're everywhere if you devote time to finding them. Flip a ton of logs and you're bound to find a few.

You can also buy a "termitat", which includes the US's largest termite (Zootermopsis angusticollis). Apparently the setup is completely sealed to minimize chances of escapees.


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#20 Offline sgheaton - Posted December 6 2017 - 5:53 AM

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The cylinder set ups are some of my favorite -- though I don't think anyone has a successful one currently alive. 


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