Most boxes were in good shape and needed little more than a sweeping out to get them ready for this year. This box was the exception. Its need for repairs was obvious.
The final nest of the 2013 season was that of a Bluebird.
have been at work here.
A little pull and that
layer came away to reveal the remnants of a termite feast.
The other side, back and front of the box
were still sound, so the box is only half bad.
Both were enclosed inside a four inch diameter corrugated plastic pipe
to discourage climbing predators from reaching the nest box.
They avoid exposure and hide their travel
route beneath an arched tunnel composed of mud and masticated wood fiber. Part of the protective cover has fallen away
to expose their travel route partially carved into the wood.
These would normally not
survive the winter weather.
utilize the mud tunnels to access wood, their food source, not in direct
contact with the soil.
They survive by remaining
Termites are social insects that can develop large colonies
centered around an egg producing queen.
When I was younger, I went through an ant farm period where I maintained
several ant colonies living between sheets of closely mounted clear
plastic. After finding a piece of
firewood full of termites, I filled an empty ant farm with some soil and wood
chunks and loaded in as many termites as I could get from that firewood. There was no queen, but the hundreds of
workers managed to go about their business as usual. The termites were fascinating to watch and flourished
for several months until my father noticed them. I tried to explain that they were no threat
to the house, but they were evicted along with several other creatures that he
felt should not be living in a young boy’s bedroom.
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