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Vendayn's 2018 journal edition of (not dry) Dampwood termites


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#1 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 6 2018 - 9:15 PM

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(the alates are almost certainly Incisitermes minor. My actual colony are Dampwood termites. Thanks G C Snelling for helping with what they may be, and sorry for annoying amount of messages lol.

 

No pictures (since 10/16/18 I have however taken many), unlike the amazing colony of Pepsi408. Don't expect any pictures for a while either (probably a couple weeks), since I don't want to disturb them until they are all officially inside the wood. There isn't much to take pictures of anyway if I do, except the setup. And its just test tubes filled with dowel...nothing special.

 

http://www.formicult...ermites-colony/

 

This is mostly only here so I can give occasional updates on how they look and document the approximate date I got them. I won't have an actual viable colony for 2 years, and until then can only see the frass they put outside the dowel

 

Sadly I didn't document properly the exact date I got the alates. But it was August 28th or 29th or August 30th (2018) I got them.

 

In total, they have made as far as I know 4-5 pairs judging by the holes they dug into the dowel. Hopefully end up with a good colony.

 

As for what I'm keeping them in. All the ones in the jar died for some reason and didn't even dig into the dowel. They are just dead at the bottom. All the ones in the test tubes are fine. One test tube has 2-3 pairs, and two test tube has one pair each. 


Edited by Vendayn, October 16 2018 - 6:13 PM.

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#2 Offline Nare - Posted September 7 2018 - 5:17 PM

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These aren't the ones I thought were Reticulitermes, are they?


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


#3 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 7 2018 - 9:57 PM

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They are these

 

http://entnemdept.uf...ood_termite.htm



#4 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 9 2018 - 4:10 PM

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Today (09-09-18) was the Drywood termite's biggest flights for this year where I live. They started pretty late in the year compared to previous years.

 

I ended up with close to 50 alates. So I used up almost all my test tubes for what looked like pairs. For a total of 5 new pairs of termites, plus the 3-4 I had before. I pretty much used all my test tubes, except for two. But those I want to save for any potential ants. Most of the termite alates I got went into the glass jar since there was only two pairs of termites left in there. I set it up wrong at first so most died sadly. Any amount of water=bad as I found out).

 

I'll probably look at them once a day just to see how many went into in the dowel. Once they all disappear into it, I'll look once in a while and see if they have made any frass and how much. Will be a long 2 year wait. But, it'll still be good to see the frass as that will help a bit knowing how they are doing.


Edited by Vendayn, September 9 2018 - 7:07 PM.


#5 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 14 2018 - 2:33 PM

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I ended up getting about 30 more Drywood termite alates. I found a box of old test tubes, so 8 pairs went into each test tube. The rest went into the jar that I'm hoping ends up being a multi-queen colony, like I read that sometimes happens in the wild.

 

The vast majority I notice die though, whether its the jar or the test tubes. They have a VERY high mortality rate before going into the wood, just like I see outside when I catch them. However I already know there are multiple successful pairs in the jar, and about half the test tubes (before the ones I got today) seem successful early on.


Edited by Vendayn, September 14 2018 - 2:37 PM.

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#6 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 29 2018 - 3:34 PM

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I got a massive Drywood termite colony. I was looking around along the river area, and I've noticed there is a bunch of dead trees that randomly dot the river bed. But, all but one of those trees are too hard to get. Too much foliage and I don't want to get bit by rattlesnakes (lots of them here). But, then I noticed one tree that had its brush recently cleared out to get to it. The tree itself still had dead twigs around itself, but not thick at all. 

 

So I spent almost 5 hours trying to tear apart the tree. And keep in mind, this tree died decades ago (probably from the fire that went through the river ages ago. I wasn't here for that, don't think I was even born yet) so I wasn't actually damaging anything.

 

My first attempt I only got a few Drywood termites, not that great. Only one piece of wood I broke off from the tree had any termites.

Second attempt was much better, got a piece of tree limb that had a lot of termites through it. Breaking this off also revealed a huge Drywood colony near the middle of the tree limb. Which to note, I can't actually get to the "main" colony because the tree limb is far too thick and I can't saw it. Kind of a shame because its where the majority is. But its too late now to get them, getting dark. I still got out with a huge colony.

 

Third time I went out I took a saw and sawed the end of that same tree limb, but toward the end it was a lot more thin (but still thick enough that it took 5 minutes to saw through it). It was a pretty decent sized piece. Inside it currently is multiple soldiers (which look amazing), at least over 200 false workers (Drywood termites don't have a true worker caste) and some wingless alates (probably flew into the colony with their recent mating flights). There are so many of them.


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#7 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 30 2018 - 8:25 AM

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Nothing fancy, but its what I had to keep them in. There is a lot of wood they are in, so I didn't really have anything that could fit it all. It doesn't look pretty, but oh well. I'm going to put something underneath the aquarium, since the aquarium is plastic and they can eat their way out if they wanted to.

 

 

I saw one false worker this morning, so I know they are doing good.

 

Also to note, the main colony seems to be somewhere up higher in the tree (which up high is where Drywood termites usually are when I see them). So I only got a "small" part of the colony. I did try getting more this morning, but the rest of the tree is too hard to cut through and I don't want to destroy the colony that is higher up.


Edited by Vendayn, September 30 2018 - 12:27 PM.


#8 Offline Vendayn - Posted September 30 2018 - 11:55 AM

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One thing I noticed, and maybe its just cause I just got them...

 

But they explore outside the wood more than I thought they would. Outside of the Formosan subterranean termites I had, they are only other termite I've had that actually explore without mud tubes. Not in huge numbers, but I usually see 1-4 termites at a time.

 

I did see Pepsi's journal of course, and his go outside the wood. And I did see in his journal the workers casually explore as he stated. But, for some reason my brain still thought I'd barely see them if at all and they'd only stay inside the wood lol.

 

As for numbers. They could be a lot actually that I got. I got a tiny twig 2 years ago when Drywood termites in it (but the wood was soaked from recent rains, and the colony died from it). But despite how small the twig was (I think it was length of my hand, maybe a bit shorter and was really thin), it still had around 50 termites in it. Such a tiny twig with so many termites. So going by that, the colony I got probably numbers a lot. And the rest of the colony is probably huge. But, I'm not climbing a dead, crumbling up tree to find out. Plus I don't want to destroy the colony anyway, like I said.


Edited by Vendayn, September 30 2018 - 12:01 PM.


#9 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 1 2018 - 12:42 PM

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Got over 50 alates. 22 went into the colony I got the other day. I didn't want to put them all in, cause I don't know how they'll act with each other. 6 went into various test tubes (some test tubes which I used earlier but the alates died in them), and the rest got fed to my ants and toad.

 

(quick update: Interestingly, false workers came out of the wood in the aquarium setup and are protecting the alates I put in. There is no aggression, but they are protecting the alates like they would their own. Even though 100% not the same colony at all, since the tree I got the big colony from is too far for the alates to come from there)


Edited by Vendayn, October 1 2018 - 1:23 PM.

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#10 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 4 2018 - 5:40 PM

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My friend got a colony of Incisitermes (almost certainly minor, Western Drywood termites) as those are pretty much the #1 common Drywood termite for Southern California. He was driving up to Disneyland so stopped by and gave me them.

 

In it is a queen. She still has her wings, but she is definitely a queen. Not common one sees a queen with wings with termites. I'm thinking the original queen might have died and an alate took over as a reproductive at one point in time. A few soldiers, and what looks to be around maybe 50, maybe 75 false workers. He said the entire colony came from a dead tree they cut down in their backyard. He lives in San Diego county. 

 

He had put all the termites in a test tube and said that was all there was that were alive and could find. When he saw the first termite, he looked through all the other branches and spent some time cutting them up and there was nothing else. 

 

I'm going to keep them in a test tube setup, but no water. See how that works out, since no one has kept a large colony of Incisitermes in a test tube. It works for subterranean termites, so I don't see why not. I already setup two test tubes with dowel and set them next to each other in a glass bowl.


Edited by Vendayn, October 4 2018 - 6:07 PM.

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#11 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 4 2018 - 6:05 PM

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Here are some pictures I took. 

 

Spoiler

 

The cotton in those test tubes with the dowel are dry (not sure about the test tube the termites are in, my friend didn't say if he hydrated the cotton or not). I tried a while to get the cotton to come out in the two test tubes I used and its too stuck in. Not too big a deal though to me.

 

Also couldn't get a clear picture of the soldiers (same with the false workers). I don't want to disturb them too much by moving the test tubes around, at least till they move to the ones with dowel in it. The reflection + light on the glass of the test tube made the picture more blurry. And my camera is already bad enough that it does terrible job in anything except a brightly lit room. Plus its getting dark here and my camera doesn't take good pictures at all in the dark. Maybe I'll try tomorrow when they settle in.


Edited by Vendayn, October 4 2018 - 6:13 PM.


#12 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 6 2018 - 7:07 PM

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Update on test tube colony: I think its only the queen (who actually now has no wings so they must have came off when I was messing with the tubes). However there is no male. I'm hoping one of the false workers molts into a male and then they can mate. Other than that, very few died and most looked like they are doing great.



#13 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 9 2018 - 9:56 AM

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The Incisitermes minor colony I got from the tree is dead. They were all huddled around a wet part of the dirt (I was spraying my other termites and some water leaked out) and were then all dried up and dead as the dirt dried.

 

The I. minor colony my friend gave me, that is in a test tube...about 10 dried up and died. So, as a test I added a dampened piece of wood in a separate test tube and all the termites moved into it almost right away. They aren't even using the dry test tube wood at all. This seems to have also greatly increased survivability, as its been almost 24 hours without any dried up termites. Also exploration and activity increased a lot.

 

Very strange all the I. minor I get seem to need water, I don't know why that is. But, every time I get I. minor alates or anything they need water or they dry up and die. In fact they love water and congregate to it. Kind of weird.

 

Here are two pictures of a soldier.

 

Spoiler

Edited by Vendayn, October 9 2018 - 9:57 AM.

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#14 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 9 2018 - 12:27 PM

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I tried adding a male to the test tube colony. Didn't look like it went too good, but if he dies he dies. But, the soldiers were trying to attack him and didn't seem very accepting



#15 Offline Nare - Posted October 9 2018 - 2:49 PM

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I was fairly certain that drywoods could metabolize all of their water from the wood they eat, but I also know that they can do okay in damp wood, so I'd suggest keeping their setups damp just to be safe. Maybe someone can verify that though, I'm not 100% with this species. Soldiers look really neat though.


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#16 Offline Pepsi408 - Posted October 10 2018 - 12:39 AM

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vendayn, I never encounter this with my drywood termites drying up and dying. So I can not give you any guidance or recommendations concerning your problem. also looking at the picture of the soldiers they look very different from my drywood termites soldiers because my soldiers look lighter white in color and have less armor then the ones you have.  Your drywood almost look like a cross or hybrid between damp wood and drywood. I wish I could help but I'm all ???. I checked the info on ca.gov in Los Angeles county for Western Drywood Termite, they look way different then we have in the bay area. Your drywood match more with the Los Angeles county then what I see here in my area.

 

https://www.cdfa.ca....ermes_minor.pdf


Edited by Pepsi408, October 10 2018 - 1:00 AM.


#17 Offline Pepsi408 - Posted October 10 2018 - 1:38 AM

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Also they might be Zootermopsis nevadensis, Nevada dampwood termites?

 

I-IS-ZNEV-CO.001.jpg

 

dampwoodsoldier300.jpg

TK5KAK4K6KAQ108QC08QV05QO01QJ05KDKSK9KZK

 

 

drywood termites that look more like mine.

 

I-IS-IMIN-CO.001.jpg


Edited by Pepsi408, October 10 2018 - 1:53 AM.


#18 Offline LC3 - Posted October 10 2018 - 6:48 AM

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That pronotum is way too large to be Zootermopsis. The mandibles don't look to be parallel to the head either.


Colonies

Spoiler

 

 


#19 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 10 2018 - 11:40 AM

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Well, the alates match Incisitermes (minor) alates. But, it is weird they are so attracted to water. None have yet to still die either since adding the damp test tube. But, they were found in a 100% dry, dead, tree. 

 

Though the dry test tube has termites now too and they've started digging into the wood. So it isn't all in the damp test tube anymore, they spread out a bit.

 

Its weird I always end up with them drying up though, same with the alates in the past. They don't die of anything else but desiccation. Though as I was telling LC3, I noticed the alates here have a really high mortality rate. The only alates that survive for long periods are ones who land in wet grass or on trees. If they land on sidewalks, or large patches of dry dirt, they dry up quick.

 

Which actually I saw Incisitermes minor (which was 100% what they were) alates in San Diego and I don't recall them drying up so quick when they flew. I never saw dead, dried, alates everywhere. Just dead ones that got eaten by dragonflies. But I never saw any on the ground dried up. I wonder if the species here is actually different and requires more moisture for some reason. Though they were found in dry wood...so I dunno. It seems I have highest success with alates and have a lot less deaths from the false workers, when I give them access to damp wood.

 

But, that isn't like Pepsi's colony at all and his hate water (but mine love it). Its like two completely different colonies that we both have.


Edited by Vendayn, October 10 2018 - 11:57 AM.

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#20 Offline Vendayn - Posted October 10 2018 - 6:20 PM

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The colony has now mostly moved into the dry test tube and have dug quite a bit into the wood now. There is a lot of their sawdust on the outside of it. Maybe before they can get into wood, they dry up easier or something. There are still some in the damp test tube, but not as nearly as many. All deaths have stopped however since giving them a damp test tube. So it seems initially they might need hydration before they dig into the wood.






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