Swarm of Termites Inclusion in Colombian Copal

Termite swarm in a large piece of Colombian copal – amber.

Termites are especially well known in the tropics and sub-tropics. Termites have been around for more than 120 million years. They are social insects and live in colonies that are usually located in the ground or in wood. Termites feed on the cellulose in wood. Part of the termite life cycle is the swarming at certain times of the year.  Termite swarmers have no biting or chewing mouthparts. But they start new colonies.

A colony is made up of workers, soldiers and swarmers. Workers maintain the colony, construct or repair the nest, and forage for food for the colony. Soldiers are sterile, and their main role is to protect the colony. Neither workers nor soldiers have wings. the young adult male and female swarmers emerge from their nests in large groups. The female termites release ‘mating pheromones,’ much like perfume, to entice male termites. Once the male locates an alluring female, they break off their wings, symbolizing that they are a couple. The new couple then select a nest location, mate, and become king and queen of a new colony. The queen has been known to live for 30 or more years.

So how many kings and queens will you find in this huge piece of Colombian copal?

Termite swarm in a large piece of Colombian copal - amber.