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Have you ever wondered how termites grow? You definitely don’t find them as they are – in adult form – in your wooden furniture or tree stumps outside your home. Today, we’ll look at the life cycle of a termite for purposes of added information. Regardless of that, you can be sure that termite control can handle termites, no matter what stage they are: egg, larvae, soldier/worker, or swarmer.
The life cycle of termites begins when two swarmers (also called “alates”) leave their colony, mate, and also search for a new territory to set up their own via flight. Suitable places like a rotting tree stump or pieces of wooden furniture count as viable colony options. These two winged termites then make a home out of this new location.
Once settled in their new colony, the alates shed their wings, becoming known as de-alates. These swarmers then transform into two new kinds of termites: the king and queen. The queen lays three kinds of termite castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductive termites (“alates”). She can lay as much as 1,000 eggs per day. Her lifespan can reach as much as 50 years.
At first, the queen lays only a handful of eggs, so the alates can take care of the manageable number. Only when the number of termites start to grow does the queen lay more eggs. This way, the colony continues to grow.
Worker termites are barren. They cannot reproduce. Their main function in the colony is to build nests and passageways, gallery, fetch food and feed it to the alates and soldiers. Workers are also blind and wingless. They have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years.
Like their relatives, soldier termites are also barren, flightless, and blind. They have large mandibles that are very useful for attacking enemies and defending their colony. However, their weapons render them unable to feed themselves, this is why they need workers to feed them regularly.
Lastly, the swarmers or alates are the reproductive termites. Unlike their cousins, they are fertile, capable of flight, and have perfect vision. This caste is the most important due to the fact that they leave the colony at regular intervals to mate and create their own, greatly increasing the number of termites. About 100 to 1000 leave their settlement once fully mature. The life cycle then repeats itself over and over again.
We hope you learned something new today from our article about the termite lifespan. To review, a colony first starts with swarmers who mate and colonize. Then they shed their wings to become kings and queens. The queen lays 3 different castes: workers, soldiers, and alates (reproductive termites). Once mature, the alates leave the colony and repeat the process all over again.
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