Termite Life Cycle & Habits

October 31, 2018

In a typical termite colony, the king and queen are the only active reproductives, they perform no other function. They are fed by the other termites and some have lived up to 25 years. A mature queen can lay thousands of eggs each year. 

During the two-week incubation period, eggs are tended by the worker termites. The nymph hatches directly from the egg. Attendants feed nymphs regurgitated food for the first two weeks, enabling them through molting to become workers, soldiers, reproductives or supplementary reproductives. As the reproductive nymph matures, its body lengthens and sexual organs develop. The body turns black, eyes become functional and wings extend twice its body length. All mature reproductives leave the colony at the same time, usually in the spring and sometimes in the fall.

The worker nymph has no eyes and is sterile. Its main function is to provide the colony with food, usually obtained by eating the understructure of buildings. Workers need a high humidity to survive and will carry mud up into the wood where feeding to maintain a 97 percent relative humidity.

The soldier nymph develops a long, armored head and large jaws during its last molt. The sole purpose of the soldier is to defend the colony against enemies such as ants.

Swarmers are poor fliers and when above ground, usually flutter a few yards and fall. Swarmers, emerging outdoors from tree stumps, railroad ties, etc., are usually not of concern and are in no way an indication that the structure is infested. After dropping to the ground they shed their wings. Surviving males find compatible mates and then burrow into the ground to become king and queen. These termites live in nests underground and tunnel up for food which includes the wood understructure of home.

A very small percentage of swarming termites survive to initiate new colonies. Many are eaten by other insects, birds, etc. likewise, swarms emerging inside a structure usually never survive. However, it is an indication of infestation.

Termites have the ability to move their colony up and down in the soil to find optimal temperature and moisture conditions.

If you suspect you may have a termite infestation or any other pest control concerns, call Amco Pest Control at (877) 534-2847 or complete our contact form below for a FREE Termite Evaluation or Pest Control Estimate. 

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