Update 7 (25/9/18)
It's been almost a month since my last update. I think I'll keep the schedule this way - I may even extend it to 2 months if nothing interesting happens. But yes - Termite Tuesday is now the last Tuesday of every month (Mark those calendars!). So, last we left off, I'd left my termites in their new toilet paper setups. They've worked, and they've worked pretty well it seems. Lots of tunneling in the toilet paper, and some nice looking tunnels in one of the jars.
So, I'll start with the jars. I've only seen activity in one of them. The termites have made tons of tunnels along the bottom, and when I pick up the jars to take a peek, I always see termites scurrying about. It looks like they're smoothing or reinforcing the walls of their tunnels with feces, they're a lighter brown colour, and smoother looking, than the rest of the soil. I'm also seeing one or two looong termites. Reproductive nymphs to be sure, possibly full fledged reproductives. No evidence of brood - they might be keeping that in the wood. In the other jar, I've seen no activity. Very few, poorly defined tunnels, no feces, nothing. I'm guessing they're all hiding in the wood, as this has been the case before. Only time will tell.
The piece of wood in the tub was empty. I kept it for a couple of weeks, saw no activity, then decided to screwdriver it open. No termites. I froze it just in case there were some hiding in some hidden corner, and then dumped the sterilized wood outside.
Now, for the tubes. As stated, my termites have been doing pretty well. They've been digging lots of tunnels, and have started to fill in the niches I made for them initially. Most of the tubes look like this now:
Unfortunately, in 3 of the 5 tubes, visibility isn't what it once was. No way around that. I can still see the termites jamming themselves into their tunnels, so it's not like I can't see any of them. Speaking of tunnels, here are some closeups of them:
Here's a soldier, the defensive member of the colony... hiding...
It should be noted that the termites have packed themselves together under their own volition. The tunnels aren't yet wide enough for them to even turn around fully, so when disturbed, they all sorta back their way out one at a time. They also aren't dead - they just seem to do that. Speaking of deaths, there have been none since those from moving the termites, which are almost always inevitable.
Another strange thing is that, in the three colonies that seem to be most vigorously excavating, the tunnels are built in the same orientations. Three colonies, three different tubes, one master plan. I assume this is due to the way I aligned the tubes. I put them all with the chamber I created facing up, and the termites have all dug down to the bottom, straight through the paper, at the end of the chamber I created. They've also all dug tunnels (with varying degrees of success) along the left side of the tube, at a similar height to the chamber I've dug. Left being the left one has when looking down the tube from the open end.
A final oddity is which colonies have decided to dig. All three colonies from my newest expedition, what I assume to be a separate colony from that which I initially excavated, have dug profusely. However, my older colonies, the two from the initial dig site, have done little digging. To be fair, one of said colonies is composed almost entirely of reproductive nymphs, which are thought to preform little labour themselves. Here's some pics:
(That one's with flash, needless to say, they weren't a fan of that.)
One of those tubes has a fair amount of mold, but it doesn't seem to be harmful. I'll be monitoring it, but I suspect that as the termites process the paper, they'll remove it. The mold might also be helping them to break down the paper. Here's something interesting from the colony that seems to be composed mainly of reproductive nymphs - it's a nymph that seems to be progressing towards full on reproductive! This is pretty exciting - it's essentially the first step towards termite babies... Take a look:
In this one, it's the really thicc termite closest to the glass:
In general, I'm starting to see more and more long individuals - this seems to be indicative that the colonies have noticed that there are no reproductives, and are taking steps to remedy such. Here's another neat individual I saw. It has more developed wings than any reproductive nymph I've seen, yet it's body is shaped just like a worker. Maybe something interesting will come of this? Who knows. Anyways, here's the pic - it's a screenshot of some footage I took, sorry for the Mikey Bustos red circle, but I wanted to be clear of which individual I was referencing:
That about wraps it up for this month. Check in next month - there may be an update. I might try and include some footage, but I'm too lazy to bother cropping it on Imgur, and still need to rename my yt so that my personal info isn't made available to the world at large. But yes, next month there could be an update... It might even be Halloween themed...