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The Termite Colony

Termites are much lower in the evolutionary scale than ants and bees, and yet they have developed a remarkable social organisation.

All termites live in colonies; some colonies contain millions of individuals. The mutual cooperation that is the basis of these organised societies compensates for the termite''s weakness as a single insect, and so the colony becomes an efficient, destructive force.

This film takes a close look at the social behaviour of several termite species, and shows that the very strength of the colony - the dependence of each individual on the community as a whole - could be its greatest weakness, when it comes to devising control measures.

Produced in 1970.

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13:44:56 | Title over termites on glass plate
13:45:18 | Termites swarming on glass plate
13:46:00 | Termite damaged timber, seats on concrete stand, inspection of damagedtimber under stand
13:46:40 | Termite specimens preserved in tubes in filed insect collection
13:47:37 | Termite colony swarming on glass
13:47:50 | Various termite mounds, and nests, underground, in trees
13:48:58 | Researchers opening a termite mound, termites swarming on exposedsurface
13:50:09 | CU workers at colony entrance
13:50:34 | Queen with workers on and around her, king nearby, eggs carriedto nursery, larvae hatch out
13:51:56 | Soldiers attacking ant, soldier with mandibles
13:52:33 | Developing reproductives
13:52:56 | Swarming flight of alates (winged adults) from opening in mound,landing, shed wings, female posing, abdomen in air, male attaches, pairmove in tandem, burrow into soil
13:55:50 | Cross section view of chamber, pair excavate tunnels and chambers,young larvae fed by king and queen
13:56:52 | Mounds at five yearly intervals showing increase in size, researchersmeasure mound
13:57:53 | Old mount south of Darwin, top knocked off in 1872, researcher chipsat sides, ants scurry
13:58:25 | Researcher cut mound in half and examine internal structure, horizontalgalleries
14:00:20 | Researchers drill into snow covered mound check temperature withthermocouple, compared with ground temperature
14:01:12 | Magnetic mounds, narrow ends north and south, some with concavewestern face
14:02:06 | Bulbous mound built by spinifex termite, grass stored in outer lobes
14:03:03 | Mound in mulga scrub with pellets of dead mulga leaves stored attop of mound
14:03:36 | Mound in arid flat area opened to show cemetery galleries of deadtermites
14:04:10 | Termite damaged timber, felling eucalyptus tree, hollow trunk, pileof hollow trunks, burning infested wood
14:05:00 | Termites feeding on plant debris, cardboard, books, animal manure.Remains of dead tree
14:05:40 | Researcher examines covered shelter tubes built over building foundation
14:06:03 | Termites foraging near their burrow in grass, harvesting, takinggrass into burrow, grass carried along galleries to nest
14:07:04 | Nest up tree, foraging galleries on trunk leading away from nextto ground
14:07:24 | Lab demonstration perspex box with termites in plastic containerand wood blocks opposite, covered gallery formed and structure to enclosefood supply built, workers move along gallery
14:08:48 | Scent trail on paper put in box containing termites which followthe trail
14:09:35 | Termites rush along foraging paths to hole, soldiers protect burrow,foraging hole sealed, defensive soldiers in opened nest, workers repairinghold with soil grains
14:11:15 | Termites moving about nest along galleries, workers grooming queen
14:12:24 | Lab demonstration. Workers and soldiers in petri dish, constantlymoving, touching each other, one worker dusted with poison put backin dish, workers touch it, keep moving, later all workers dead or sick,soldiers all alive
14:14:04 | White arsenic blown into foraging gallery under painted surface
14:14:25 | Termites rushing in and out of hole on ground
14:14:39 | Field of termite mounds
14:14:55 | House on poles, pouring cement piles, cement piles for house, clearingtermites from tree stump
14:15:27 | Workers tending queen and king
14:15:44 | Termites on glass plate, darting about
14:16:03 | End