What do they do?
The existence of reproductive termites is significant to keep the termite colonies successful and feasible. If they are not present in every colony, there’s a big possibility that these termite colonies will collapse. Yes, reproductive termites are vital in termite colonies, and the most studied one today is the subterranean termites of North America.
The King and Queen
The first reproductive termites of one colony are the queen and king of the colony. Both these male and female reproductives begin the colony through the mating process right after leaving one colony. Most common species usually do it in nuptial flight or ‘termite swarms.’ The couple will look for a safer place free from any trouble, predators, and extreme temperature, then begin a colony. After the process of mating, the queen is ready to lay thousands of eggs. During the hatching process, the workers and soldier termites are present as well. The soldier termites will defend the new colony. In contrast, the worker termites will do the ‘work.’ The process of termite reproduction is slow-moving, especially in a population that hasn’t been built for some time.
A healthy colony where eggs are regularly hatching, a secondary colony will exist. It is also called neotenic. These are immatures and former baby termites which become a larva and become a wingless pest. They help in supplementing the colony in different species of subterranean termite. This process is called neotenic reproduction.
It’s been found out that the secondary reproductives are more plentiful than the queen. They are more adaptable and not impressionable to the predators mainly because of their mobility. Some of these kinds can mirror workers termites in color and character, but they are longer to look at.
There is another supplemental reproduction derives from the worker termites. It is called apterous neotenic reproduction. Its function is to develop supplementary eggs with no wing pads to fly. And for the final process, alates or winged reproduction are now the new king and queen flying from one colony to the other and start a new colony.
How are termites reproduce?
The termite’s life cycle begins with the mating flight. It is where the swarming process occurs, and the male and female reproductives mate and build a colony after flying from one place to the other mating nest. Then, fertilization started as the winged termites shed their wings and landed to form their new termite colonies. They are now called the king and queen of the new termite colonies. They will become the center of the termite’s life cycle and responsible for termite mate and reproduction.
When the queen termite is fertile, she is now ready to lay and hatch. Then, the hatching process of pale white larvae will begin. This process is critical because the molt will develop into workers soldiers, and even secondary reproductives, forming one termite colony.
It is a baby termite that is ready to become molts. It is the time where its exoskeleton started to shed and prepared to become reproductive. During the first cycle, termites produce an exoskeleton that is very soft and found under the current exoskeleton. When termites become mature, the outermost skeleton opens, splits, then becomes hard and enlarges more.
After the molting process, it grows into larvae. It assumes a vital role in three main castes of the termite colony: the soldiers, the workers, and the alates or the reproductive termites.
In termite colonies, there are many types of adults to be considered. It is separated by caste or class. They are known as soldiers, reproductives, and workers. Most of the young termites during the reproduction will usually become workers soldiers. This pair is always present all the time. That is why they are considered the largest caste in one colony.
Soldier termites are the 2nd largest class of a termite colony. They are reproduced for defense and work to guard the termite nest against predators and possible trouble. In terms of genetics study, every nymphs are identical. They can develop themselves and be established into any castes members.
In most new colonies, the queen and king are considered the primary reproductives. The alates will form new colonies that are good enough to establish and may produce a new mature colony of termites.
Understanding Winged Reproductive Termite
The term winged termites are not a specific kind of termite species. It is described as a reproductive termite that came from one colony to look for a new space to raise and begin its colony. For homeowners, if you happened to find these kinds of termites in your property, specifically in your home, it’s a sign that there is already a termite infestation of this kind of pest existing in your place. Mostly, they are hidden from people’s sight and, most probably, getting prepared and settling to start destroying your home structures, mainly if it is made of wood.
Winged termites or subterranean termites need food and moisture. They need something that consists of plant fibers cellulose that mostly found in wood. It is the only way for a subterranean termite to survive. The best way to not allow a subterranean termite to destroy your wood structures and items is to ensure that the structures remain clear and dry from the moisture.
If you are one of the homeowners and believe that you have winged or subterranean termite on your property or home, the best thing to do is conduct an inspection of your home to find a nest of this pest or insects. It can help look for more possible signs of this pest infestation in your home structure, soil, underground, and other wood materials. The next step is to determine if there’s a need to conduct termite pest control yourself or hire a professional pest exterminator to do it for you. They can help you find a nest of these termites and other pests like ants which destroys your home. Mostly, they can be found in your wood structures and sometimes produces bulky soil.
The Reproductive Alate
They are also called the swarmers. The colors of the swarm depend on the species they came from. Some swarm or alates can be dark brown or golden. Some kinds are established as reddish-brown swarms.
Compared to workers and soldiers, alates may become bigger, and they have round eyes like those with an ant. When it comes to size, it depends on which termite type or branch they belong to. One of the largest termite swarmers in the dampwood termite alates. They also have wings that measure half an inch long.
Swarmers have symmetrical and clear wings. Though it’s a fragile part of their body, it soon breaks off painlessly when the swarmers’ dispersal flight happens. When an alate survives during the departure process, they soon create numbers of colonies and branch out themselves and become queens and kings independently, with their workers and soldiers feeding them. This pair will always be present and give their best work.
What is Swarming?
Swarming is one crucial part of the termite’s life cycle. It is when the reproductives become mature termites and fully capable of reproduction. It is the time when they form functioning eyes and establish their own wings. They are now called alates, and their bodies may become sturdy, darker, and harder to help them withstand the light exposure and humid air.
How Many Eggs Do Termites Lay?
Primary and secondary reproductives are not the same when it comes to their egg-laying habits. The age and species of termites play a significant role in how many eggs they can lay.
When one female reproductive becomes a queen, she doesn’t lay a lot. For the first batch, she may only produce around 20 or lesser than that.
On the other hand, the subterranean queen termite may lay less than 100 during the first year. But when it becomes mature, the queen can lay up to 500 and more every year.
In general, the queen termites of other kinds can have a thousand eggs every day, while those that belong to higher types can produce up to 25,000 daily.
Meanwhile, the secondary reproductive is not the same as the primary reproductive when it comes to reproduction rate. But, if it belongs to a big colony, multiple secondary reproductives and their number of eggs can add up.