Termites, ants, bees and wasps have been able to take advantage of the materials and niches provided by the trees of the tropical rainforest.

These insects have a high level of social organization, which is known as eusociality.

They live in colonies in which a single, long-lived, reproductively active female governs all the activities of sterile individuals of different generations by chemical messages.

Members of this type of colony do not act on their own but as part of a superorganism.

The overriding biological force that operates on an individual of any species is the drive to pass on its genes to the next generation.

In a eusocial system, the workers are sterile, but they continue to care for the offspring of the queen because sister workers share a higher proportion of common genes (75 percent) with each other than they do with either parent (50 percent).

Thus, they ensure the continuance of that proportion of shared genes.

In the tropical rainforest, many eusocial species, such as stingless bees, are tree nesters. These bees defend themselves with well-developed mandibles and caustic saliva that causes burns and lesions.

The wax that they produce is combined with plant resins and sometimes with other materials for use in nest construction.

Honeybees also nest in tree cavities.

Arboreal eusocial wasps of the genera Polistes and Polybia are common throughout the rainforests of South and Central America. They make hanging nests of a papery material made from chewed wood fragments.

Arboreal termites make spherical nests around branches. These are composed of chewed wood and saliva, and have the consistency of brittle cardboard.

Weaver ants build nests of living leaves that are held together with silk from larvae. Weaver ant colonies can consist of up to half a million of individuals, and take up several tree canopies.