Make your own free website on Tripod.com

My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

Termites
Home
My Critters
Feeder Insects
Terrarium, Vivarium
Critter Caresheets
Building Large Terrariums
Making a Keep Box
Making Outdoor Critter Houses
Backyard Pond Attraction
Taxonomy
Amphibians
Reptiles
Wild Birds
Garden Insects
Butterflies and Moths
My Garden Plants
Wild Yard Plants
My Backyard Gallery
A Library of Links

The method I plan to use is just a large, plastic coffee can poked with holes large enough for termites to get through.

Using unwaxed newspaper that has been soaked for a few days as a full roll until it's almost ready to fall apart, or you could even use orchid bark. With pieces of wood such as left over cuts or pulp from a large enough rotting branch in the center of the container. Pack the softened newspaper around it in a tight fit, leaving some wrinkles left in the folding or crumble moist orchid bark around it. Put the lid over the container. Bury it in a very shallow hole in the back yard, leaving the lid visible. After a month open the lid to see if any activity has gathered. If not, make sure it's still somewhat moist and give it another month. If you don't like the results too much, try adding bran and millet cereals as a tempting snack to draw more of them in. If you got ants instead, heh, start over. The only ants really worth trying to use are sugar ants.

Too keep termites after I've caught them, if there's enough without actually starting my own colony with flying termites to make a queen - I'm using a tupperware container. The bottom filled about an inch or two with moist peat moss, dead leaves and pieces of wood, orchid bark or pulp.

An ideal pulp is a wood pulp bedding that can be found at most pet stores. It's basically just plain, unbleached bits of recycled paper. I can also make my own by soaking some more unwaxed newspaper with the pages separated so the water will soak through more quickly, until it has been reduced to pulp. Basically newspaper is fine, they just don't like the ink so much. Soaking it gets it soft, moist as well as drawing out some of the ink.

Keep the container around 70-80 degrees and when the coffee can outside has termites, place them and the contents of the can in the container.

The bits of wood can be anything from left over wood cuts from carpenter projects to thick branches stripped of their bark or buying some boards. Flat boards with grooves run through them would be best, making a three layer sandwich with unbleached, moist paper in the center of the middle one.

Any wood will do really, even pure cotton, cardboard and/or popsicle sticks soaked over night. They eat anything that has to do with cellulose and bacteria called protozoa as this is what helps them digest wood. Since only the worker termites are doing the job of chewing the wood and carrying protozoa's in their gut, they feed the rest of the colony with pre-digested wood.

Things high in cellulose include acorns, wheat bran, oat bran, millet, corn husk. Cellulose fiber itself is basically paper.

If you really want to get into it, grow ordinary bird seed, when the seeds have come to grasses, sunflowers and grains making seeds, pull them up and let them dry out roots and all, chop it all up in small enough stacks to substitute as wood and just keep it as a compost until you're ready to gather some for tending termites. This is mainly with protozoa rich fibers in mind as fresh lumber woods, papers and cereals, veggies won't have any until they decompose, which will also take a while because most if not all are chemically treated. The recycled pulp bedding and unbleached paper towels may be the only exception of just getting things straight out of the yard for untreated materials.

Protozoas themselves are valuable to the compost and garden among their many other helpful microorganisms even if you don't want any of these guys in your own food. They don't eat wood but other bacteria and fungi and their waste makes minerals where termites also gather their essential vits.