Termite colonies can vary in size from just hundreds of termites to several million termite individuals. As with other insects, such as the ant, termites lead a sociable existence and therefore abide by social hierarchy. Individual termites all have their position within the colony either worker termites, soldier termites or reproducer termites.
Termites are known as detritivores, which means that they eat decomposing plant matter. Around 10% of the estimated 4,000 different termite species are known as pests, as they can cause damage to buildings and agricultural land.
The termite workers build and maintain elaborate nests to house their termite colony. The termites use soil, mud, chewed wood, saliva, and faeces in their nest construction. Enormous termite mounds are commonly seen in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Termite mounds are often found as high as 3 meters, but most are usually smaller. Termite mounds however, have been known to get to more than 9 meters tall.
Termites are herbivorous animals meaning that they only eat organic plant matter. Termites eat a mixture of plants, grasses and woods and some termites are known to pose a major problem to wooden houses as they eat their way through the wood, often causing structural damage.
In many cultures around in the world, termites are eaten as part of a normal diet. Termites are extremely nutritious as they have a good store of both fat and protein. Termites are also a nutritional food source for all kinds of animals from birds, to reptiles, to mammals.