Termite Life Cycle
Knowing the life cycle of a termite can help you understand the importance of eliminating termites as soon as you know they exist. Although the cycle may seem quite simple, termites are amazing insects. They do not undergo some of the development phases that other insects go through. In fact, they hatch from their eggs looking like small adult termites, which is something that makes them unique.
In order for eggs to even be laid, there are termites called “swarmers” that fly to find a home. They sometimes appear as if they are all flying together in a black cloud of termites. However, they do become separated from one another because they are carried by the wind and will land in various places.
The last place you want them to land is in your yard where the little winged termites will make their way into your home so that they can make a termite colony. It does take a male and a female to form that colony, which means that a male and a female will mate, shed their wings, and the colony will then grow.
The two termites that mated are the king and queen of the colony. They continue to mate and termites with different rols will hatch and molt.
After molting several times, termites will take on one of three roles: Soldier, worker, or reproductive.
The soldiers defend the colony. They will kill other insects that encroach upon the colony. Their jaws are rather large, which means they have heads that are rather large. The live approximately one to two years and are brownish-yellow in color.
The worker termites are sexually immature and are pale in color. They are also blind. Despite this blindness, they use their sense of smell to build tunnels in and out of the colony and they hunt for food.
When an exterminator lays down bait, the workers will find that bait and carry it back to the colony for the others to eat. They are responsible for the care of the colony. They feed the colony and even groom their fellow termites. Termites actually engage in some form of hygiene.
The workers also live to be one to two years old if they are not exterminated first. Reproductives, however, can have longer life spans, especially if they are the king or queen of the colony.
The queen can live up to 50 years if the conditions are right. During this time, she reproduces. This is what the reproductives do – they reproduce. Although the king and queen are primarily responsible for reproducing, the sexually mature termites will do the same. From here, the process of hatching, molting, and assuming roles repeats all over again. Those that have reached the end of their lifecycle simply die off, but the numbers of the colony continue to grow.
The colony continues to grow because of the king and queen and the large numbers of reproductives laying more eggs all of the time. As long as the workers are able to continue bringing in food and the soldiers are able to continue defending the colony against other insects, the colony is going to thrive. Unfortunately, that is usually in someone’s home.
Through knowledge of the termite life cycle and use of the right methods, a stop can be put to a termite infestation. If the infestation is allowed to continue, the structure will weaken and could ultimately collapse. And although termites are slow workers when it comes to eating wood, they are effective workers because someday the home will age and the damage will cause a negative effect.