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Termite ID Request (Oregon)

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#1 Offline Trythis22 - Posted August 27 2018 - 8:33 PM


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Was out on a early dinner picnic not looking for anything at all but spotted flying termites and caught about 10 of them after everybody left. Got strange looks from strangers SO WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. Sadly not ants but it's my first catch so gonna give myself a pat on the back for this one. They are all alates and there were hundreds of them swarming. 


Can anyone identify the species? I'm thinking Zootermopsis nevadensis based on the following information below:


1. Location of collection: A park next to a lake in a beach town.

2. Date of collection: August 27, 2018.
3. Habitat of collection: Winged alates gathering around a large tree and on the ground in the immediate area.
4. Length: 13-15mm
5. Coloration, hue, pattern and texture: Dark orange bodies, black mandibles. Looks like a dampwood termite. 
6. Distinguishing characteristics: N/A I have very little termite experience. 
7. Anything else distinctive: N/A
8. Nest description (if you can find the nest, and you're sure it belongs to the ant you collected) (ie: rotted log, volcano-shaped mound of coarse gavel 10cm in diameter, etc.).

9. Nuptial flight time and date: Today was a nuptial flight, August 27, 2018.


Any further care information you can give would help. My current game plan is to use a tupperware container with moist, rotten wood for nesting material and decaying plant matter as food. Will keep at 80-85 degrees F and spray about 3mL of water in the container every day. I'm going to keep all of them together. Thanks. 






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#2 Offline Nare - Posted August 28 2018 - 2:07 PM


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I think it might actually be Z. angusticollis, because of their darker heads. Definitely dampwood termites. Did you see them emerging from a log, though? They may be brothers and sister, in which case you can't found a colony with them. Perhaps, you can release them into a large container and see if they tandem run. Else, maybe return to the site where you found them and look for pairs, or search crevasses in logs or wood for any pairs that have mated.

Your plan for keeping them sounds fine, but if you have a lid on, you probably won't even need to water them that much. Too much water can kill termites, just check every once in a while to see how it is. They do eat wood, so there's no need for dead plant matter - for this species, damp wood is the only requirement.

Best of luck - I'm not an expert on this species, but I hope I helped. They have really interesting looking soldiers.

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I keep termites - check them out! I've also made a guide...

#3 Offline LC3 - Posted September 9 2018 - 10:21 PM


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These are Z. angusticollis, Z. nevadensis are normally a brown colour rather than reddish - orange and are typically smaller (12 - 14mm vs 11mm).

As Nare said the only requirement they need is damp rotting wood (preferably softwood like pine but it doesnt matter all too much). Whether they're from the same colony or not shouldn't really matter. They are also strictly monogamous and not pleometrotic (unlike Z. nevadensis potentially) and will fight with each other either during founding or after. Or they will merge colonies but in that case the primary reproductives will probably end up getting killed at some point.

Edited by LC3, September 9 2018 - 10:22 PM.

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#4 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted January 11 2019 - 7:12 PM


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Congrats on the Zootermopsis! They're pretty easy to keep, I'd just keep them in a regular test tube setup with some damp wood thrown into the mix (I've kept some from a Termitat before). Just don't forget to keep the wood damp (as their common name implies) and the tube dark (if the tube is too bright, they'll stress out. They're far more easily stressed than subterranean termites). Also, try to separate their pairs, since more reproductives=faster loss of wood. You can accomplish this by placing them all into a bin with a damp paper towel on the bottom. After they run around for a bit, try to separate out each pair. If there is an odd number, just try to evenly distribute amongst the tubes. With subterranean termites it is normally best to do multiple males and one female, but telling the sexes apart can be quite difficult (I was only able to differentiate the genders by noticing which laid eggs and which didn't).


By the way, you can keep some termite species in a setup as simple as a test tube with a dampened piece of toilet paper roll (cardboard). I think this may apply to Zootermopsis as well. You will have to change the cardboard regularly, though, since the termites will eat the damp test tube cotton if they run out of cardboard (this can result in them drowning).

Edited by Connectimyrmex, January 11 2019 - 7:13 PM.

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