Termites are related (quite distantly) to ants, and often called white ants (although it turns out they're actually more closely related to both the cockroach and mantis families). They are, like ants, divided into castes, including a queen and lots and LOTS of workers. Oh, and did we mention the soldiers? Yeah, there are a lot of them, too.
Not to be confused with Thermite, although handling either of them without care can lead to painful consequences.
These insects provide examples of:
- Badass Army: Termite soldiers have extra-large heads for the sole purpose of blocking off passageways. They will fight off tons of ant attackers before falling, at which point another soldier will take their place.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Termite mounds can grow up to thirty feet tall.
- Heroic Sacrifice: If a breach is created in the termite mound, a phalanx of soldiers will rush out to hold off the attackers, while the workers repair the mound—locking the soldiers out and sealing their fate.
- Hive Caste System: Practically invented the trope. There are workers, soldiers, and the king and queen.
- Hive Mind: Averted. Termites *do* serve a hive, but do not actually share a single mind. Their hive-like coordination is mostly based on predetermined instincts that may or may not be triggered by pheromones.
- Hive Queen: Played with. Yes, there is a queen. No, she isn't a leader. As termites go, she's enormous.
- I Am Legion: There are a ton of termites, and they all serve a single goal: preserving the hive.
- Insect Gender-Bender: Unlike ants and bees, worker termites may be either male or female.
- Masochist's Meal: Not many animals would even try to eat wood, let alone digest it, but to these guys it's tasty.
- Meaningful Name: See Rule of Cool below.
- Termites are also known as white ants. The reason for this is...
- Mooks: Termite workers are really pretty helpless.
- King Mook: Kings are still pretty helpless though.
- The Siege: Termites are masters of this trope. Ants would likely defeat them in open warfare, but they have to get inside first.
- Rule of Cool: "Tar-baby" (nasute) termites will BLOW THEMSELVES UP into sticky goo to slow down attackers.
- Termite Trouble: Trope namer.
- Toilet Humor: Guess what those cool mounds are made out of?
- You Shall Not Pass!: The jaws of termite soldiers are enlarged specifically to make use of this trope: Nothing can FIT through the narrow tunnels with a soldier in the way. Most soldiers cannot even adequately feed themselves because of this.