Termite Lab Report

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  • Topic: Pen, Fountain pen, Pens
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  • Published : September 19, 2012
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Termite Lab Report

The effect of ink on termite behavior

Abstract
Termites produce special chemicals within their bodies called pheromones. Because termites are usually found inside dark areas, pheromones help them communicate in these places. Past studies have suggested that ink inside ballpoint pens contains pheromones, causing termites to follow any trail created by the ink. If a pathway is drawn with an ink pen, then a termite will be attracted to the path and trace it due to the pheromones. To test the behavior of termites in relation with the presence of ink, we outlined two shapes with two different writing utensils and timed how long out of a sixty second time period that the termite spent on each path. The results showed that termites spend a substantially longer amount of time following the path of an ink pen than paths made from other writing utensils. The tested termites spent an average amount of 26.9 out of 60 seconds on paths made by the ink pen, but an average of only 2.4 of 60 seconds on a path made by a Sharpie marker. The p-value for the data is 0.00309 for the pen and 0.000214 for the Sharpie marker. The results suggest that termites are attracted to the pheromones contained in ink. This contributes to understanding how termites communicate and travel in areas without light.

Introduction
Many studies have been performed in order to express the relationship between termites and ink. Termites produce chemicals in special glands on their bodies called pheromones to communicate with each other in the environment in which they live (Termite-Control, 2012). Pheromones are released between the insects to exchange messages, give commands, or attract mates (Healthy Treatment, 2012). Ink releases the same pheromones that termites make within their bodies. We usually think of pheromones as being transferred through scent, but they are actually transferred straight from the sender to the receiver. The insect automatically receives the signal...
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