Inktober prompt 5: build

Termites are some of the master builders of the animal kingdom. These 2-3cm long insects create monoliths over their homes which can be up to 6 metres tall in some species. These structures are engineered in such a way that they keep the air fresh and temperatures constant, even in the full strength of the midday sun.

Termites live in colonies founded by two individuals, a king and a queen. The queen builds her workforce by producing ~30,000 eggs per day and controls what they develop into (worker, soldier, flying form) through pheromones.

Through most of her reign a queen will only produce workers and soldier. These are sterile castes, meaning they will never have offspring of their own. Their whole purpose is to collect food, maintain the nest, and protect the colony.

Once a year or so, flying termites will swarm. These flying forms are the fertile males and females. They are produced by changes in a Queens pheromone cocktail that trigger the development of winged individuals.

Makes and females pair up, break off their wings and found a new colony elsewhere, and the cycle begins again.

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