The Termite Colony and Caste

A termite colony is established by swarmers. Swarmers are the new king and queen of the colony. Swarmers will leave their existing colony (around March through June) to create a new one. Swarmers are the only caste which have functional eyes. After leaving the colony the termites will pair up during their flight, land and then look for a place to start their family. Shortly after landing, they lose their wings.

Establishing a New Termite Colony

Four Seasons HomeTown termite swarmersThe new king and queen will start excavating a chamber large enough to crawl inside. Once inside they seal the opening and mate. From this point they spend the rest of their lives underground. The termite queen can produce over 500 offspring per year. The parental king and queen have the longest life span in the colony and can often survive a decade or longer producing thousands of offspring. These are the new termite colony reproductives.

If the king or queen should die, other individuals within the colony will start to develop functional reproductive organs to take their place and these are called secondary reproductives. They can’t produce as many eggs as the original queen, however more than one set of secondary reproductives can be active in a colony and produce thousands of offspring between them.

Subterranean termite workers are found in infested wood. The workers are responsible for all of the labor in the termite colony. They care for the young, repair the nest, build foraging tunnels, locate food, feed and groom the other castes, and each other. The termite workers are both male and female but they are functionally sterile. They are milky white in color and have no wings or eyes. The body of the termite worker is soft, but its mouthparts are very hard and adapted for chewing wood.

Defending Termites

Subterranean termite soldiers are the defenders of the colony. They protect the colony against raiding ants and foreign termites. When the foraging tubes are broken into, the soldiers will congregate around the break and stand guard against invaders. Soldiers are also blind, soft-bodied and wingless. However, the soldiers have an enlarged, hard, yellowish-brown head which has been adapted for fighting. The head has a pair of very large mandibles or jaws that are used to puncture, slice and kill enemies.

If you have signs of termites then contact us and be assured when you are dealing with Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control then you are dealing with an experienced termite professional. We will assess your property and give you an honest answer. Following our termite prevention tips can help keep you termite free too.

Other Pests That May Be in Your Home

Four Seasons HomeTown house mouse

Mice and Rats

What are mice and rats? Mice and rats are rodents and are amongst the most successful mammals in North Carolina and Virginia. They are able to adapt and colonize on many different types of land masses. They also have the ability to reproduce quickly and feed on many different types of food. Common types of…

Four Seasons HomeTown beetle 2

Beetles

What are Beetles? Beetles are the largest and most diverse variety of insects on the planet. Beetles fall into two different categories, there are structural beetles such as powderpost beetles and non-structural beetles such as carpet beetles or grain beetles. Powderpost beetles lay eggs on the surface of the wood. When the eggs hatch the…

Four Seasons HomeTown bees, wasps, hornets 1

Bees, Wasps, and Hornets

What are stinging insects? Bees, wasps and hornets are beneficial insects as long as we humans make it a point to disregard them. That isn't always possible, especially when their nests are built in close proximity to our homes, or even inside our homes. Bee stings, as well as wasp and hornet stings can be…

Pay Your Bill