Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reproductive Rituals

After the first good soaking rain at the start of the rainy season, especially in areas with distinct dry season like ours, there are common sights at night, which are usually unwanted in most households. This is the reproduction rituals of termites around  light sources. These days these termites swarm around the lighted electric bulbs. The group of termites doing this is called the “alates” or the winged caste, also known as reproductive caste. In times like these, we put off all the light bulbs inside the house and leave a lighted bulb open at the terrace, so all of them converge there.

I am fascinated in observing them, performing their courtship rituals around the light bulb, after landing on the floor most of them do a very fast pirouette with all the wings extended. I wonder what that means! When their wings close again, they find partners and sometimes the partners do the pirouette again, clinging on each other through their opposite ends, inverted position. Few minutes later, they walk on the floor with one following another in tandem. Many pairs simultaneously do this 'long walks' on the floor, after which they shed the wings and walk wherever, looking for seclusion. References said they are already fertilized and will look for the nest for their next colony. I wonder if those which left still with their wings on did not find their partners. Or maybe their potential partners drowned in my water pool.


Above left: still finding for mates; Above right: pirouetting partners

Some cultures like countries in Africa and some Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia eat these termites. It is a good source of protein especially during food shortage. In my case, I put a big basin of water under the light bulb and let them fall there. 

 other entities in the household got curious too

Another one joined in!

they tried eating them, one at the left already feasting on its harvest, one at the right followed 

the one at the left returned, they liked it fresh, very fresh!

 my harvest will be for the chicken tomorrow morning, i wonder if they like it too

other onlookers got their share too, this time the tiny ants...

Termites destroy our wooden structures in the house. We dont like them, so i tried my best to lessen their population. I don't think I altered or spoiled the drama of the food chain. I just tampered it a bit!


  1. I like the cats' curious action. Thankfully curiosity does not always kill the cat.

    I used to see these flying insects when I was small and yes, the adults always put basins of water below the lights. I didn't know they are termites. I understand that the black ants do eat termites.

  2. One you are fast to reply, thanks. It's raining hard for 2d here we had flooding in many areas. Fortunately, we and family are okay. Yes the big insects eat termites, but termites eat wood faster than ants eating them! Do you know it still took my 9yr-old nephew 3 yrs ago to teach me about them. I never learned them on my own. He is very observant with nature and shares some of his findings with me!

  3. I only know termites for the damage they do, so this was quite an interesting post to me. Cute kitties! I hope the chickens enjoy their treat!

  4. This is fascinating. It sounds like the termites are having quite a party, including dancing in a conga line! The cats are very cute!

  5. I know how those destroyers of home work! Spent a lot of money to get rid of them from my mother's, and mine! Though they were a fascination when I was small just like you cute kitties, so curious!

  6. That's what we usually do when we see these flying insects. We just call them 'flying ants' but I didn't know they were termites. Your nephew is an observant and intelligent boy. I'd certainly like to meet him one day! The cats are cute too.


Your comments inspire me to post more, and our conversations make life and gardening more meaningful.

However, Anonymous comments and personal back links give me problems, so i don't publish them. Anonymous + back links = SPAM = DELETE

Related Posts with Thumbnails