Caring for Your Termitat®

Upon Receiving Your Termitat:

Check for a healthy and lively colony. These are live animals that are in a closed environment and will need your occasional attention as with any other treasured pet.

Colony Members

Termitats are set up using a small group of worker termites and possibly a soldier (if one is available in the original larger supply colony). Soldiers are dependent on workers for their food; they are unable to obtain their own cellulose meals due to their jaws being suitable solely for defense of the colony. Usually a new colony in the wild will only begin to produce soldiers after the colony achieves sufficient numbers to be able to feed extra mouths.  Even in a mature wild colony, there will only be about 5 soldiers for every 100 workers. In a small starter Termitat colony that has a soldier included, it is common for the colony to consume the soldier and therefore save the colony’s energy. Soldier production may be deferred to a later date. The colony will consume the protein packed body of the soldier (nothing is wasted!) and place the inedible jaws and head in an area used for the colony’s debris. If this is the case with your colony, be patient, as a new soldier will appear in due time as your colony builds up its population.

Occasionally winged termites will appear when younger workers molt into these winged, potential reproductives. Since they cannot leave and fly off to establish new colonies outside the Termitat, they will drop their wings and possibly become reproductives if there are none existing or be consumed by the colony if they are not needed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Upon arrival of your Termitat, you might notice a few dead individual termites. This is not uncommon after the long and bumpy ride. They will quickly be dealt with by the colony. There might be some normal debris under the wood disk as the colony commonly tosses excess materials outside. If all the termites arrive expired, you must contact us within 1 hour of the delivery time (as indicated by USPS tracking information) and include photos of the packaging and the termites. Contact: info@termitat.com

When and How to Add Water:
The forest dwelling species of termite in your Termitat requires some damp wood and humidity. It is simple to maintain the proper amount of damp wood in the Termitat. Be sure to make a habit of checking the wood disk at least twice a week to observe whether some of the immediate area where the termites are located is visibly darker and damper than the surrounding wood. Add just enough water to keep that immediate area damp – do not worry about making the entire wood disk damp. Avoid adding water to areas of the wood that the colony does not have access to. The termites will not be able to control fungus that can occur on this inaccessible damp wood.
some good condensation
Basic Watering Rules
  1. If the area of the colony’s gallery is a little darker/damper than the surrounding dry wood in the disk (you might even see a small patch of some good condensation on the inside of the clear acrylic), hold off on adding more water. The adding of too much water can be a problem in maintaining a healthy environment for the colony.  If the wood is dry and water is needed, fill the syringe from half to full with spring water or distilled water.  Avoid using tap water. Most bottled drinking waters are fine.
  2. While you inject water, tip and tilt the case to make the water move to where you want it to go.
    The recessed hole at the top of the Termitat accepts the black rubber nozzle end of the syringe. Press the nozzle tip into the recess for a good seal. If the hole is blocked, insert the supplied piece of fine wire to clear hole. The wire will come attached to the syringe. To add the water, pick up the Termitat and tilt the front face forward until almost horizontal. This will allow you to slowly control the added water and to direct and distribute it as it is added with the syringe. Slowly depress the syringe plunger and allow the water to enter into the area where the termites are located. Tip and tilt the case in different directions to distribute the water evenly so it does not immediately drop to the bottom of the galleries and escape down on the inside of the acrylic to the lowest part of the wood disk. Monitor where the water is going as you press down on the syringe plunger. It might even be convenient to hold the case above your head, front face side down, as you add water to make sure it stays in the gallery areas with the termites and does not run down the wood on the back side of the wood disk.
  3. When you have added enough water to dampen just the wood the termites can touch, stop and lay the case face UP on a table.   Let the added water soak into the horizontal wood before you set the case upright.
  4. Do not try to keep the entire wood disk damp. Follow the progress of the colony and just keep an area of the chambers and tunnels they make slightly damp.
    When the colony has had sufficient time to seal up the air leaks they detect and thereby control the air movement in the gallery, less water will be needed to maintain some damp wood and high humidity.
  5. Do not allow water to spread between the acrylic and the wood into areas the colony can’t access.
    If you notice the start of branching fungal growth on the surface of the wood, cut back on the water and give the colony a chance to get the fungus under control as they eventually tunnel over to it.  Termite fecal pellets have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and their presence will help control fungus.
Temperature
These termites do best at temperatures that we humans also find comfortable. The thermometer strip on the side of the Termitat is graduated in degrees Centigrade. Keeping the Termitat between 18ºC to 24ºC (65ºF to 75ºF) is ideal. These termites can survive in a wide range of temperatures but avoid going much above or below this ideal range. The centigrade reading on the strip that is brightest is the current reading. Putting the Termitat near an extreme heat source like a house heating register or radiator or leaving it in any direct sunlight will quickly produce dangerous temperatures. A cool, lowlight spot on a desk or shelf is a good location choice.
USB Microscope

For Mac: Assemble the microscope and turn on the Photo Booth software built into the computer. Then insert the microscope’s USB plug into the computer. In the menu bar click on “Camera” and choose “Andonstar Camera”. The Photo Booth software can take a single still, four stills to a page, and a video. It can then export them in an email or save them to iPhoto or a storage device.

For PC: Plug in the microscope. Load the included CD and download the instruction PDFs and software; install and open AMCAP.EXE   Follow the menu prompts.

Disposal
If for any reason you wish to humanely dispose of your colony, freezing in the case is the best method. See the included and required USDA disposal instruction sheet.

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