The Termite Colony, Life Cycle, Lifespan and Habits

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The Termite Colony, Life Cycle, Lifespan and Habits

It is the information you need to know about the social structure of termites and how a termite colony is formed and functions. Termites don’t live on their own and infest your house with termite colonies, organized like a beehive or an ant’s nest. That affects how you have to try to deal with termite new colonies because it’s not just killing a bunch of them. You have to kill off all these termite colonies for the infestation to end.

Termites are social insects that form colonies to produce more. Their new colonies may perform various jobs depending on their caste, including workers, soldiers, and reproductives. Learning how they reproduce and where their colonies are can help you to control them.

A typical termite colony has one pair of reproductives known as king and queen. Both these termites produce pheromones. It’s a scent that gives signals for mating and nesting, then built a colony. It is being spread throughout each colony to avoid the termite workers soldiers from becoming reproductive adults. It is the queen termite’s responsibility to start the colony and produce or lay more eggs until it reaches out to a specific size of colonies. The queen lets the immature insects improve, becoming secondary queens and laying more eggs to keep their colony developing and thriving. Both the king and queen can live for 15 to 25 years. If they both die or their termite colonies have exceeded in size, the pheromone concentration type and levels change. Then termite workers will molt into the termite’s reproductive, also known as alates.

How Termites Reproduce?

The Subterranean termite colonies mature for 6 to 7 years. It is the time swarmers or alates are produced as well. They grow from brown to black to pale reddish to brown color. It depends on the kind of termite species with 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch long. A Subterranean termite has pale and smoke-gray wings too.

During spring or winter, the male and female swarmers leave their home nest to perform a mating flight, including their millions of other flying termites.

Though they can fly, they are considered weak fliers because usually they only fly a few meters only from their nest. But when there’s a wind, they can go an extra distance. Winged insects mostly landed on roofs of your houses or buildings and moved inside as well through mud tubes. The alates can be eaten by lizards, birds, frogs, spiders, and a lot more during mating. Only a few of them survive to find a good site for nesting and produce a new termite colony. Alates have created the colony and can survive too in the mating flight.

During the mating flight, the male and female swarmers are being paired. The female uses a pheromone to attract the male good for mating and nesting. Then, the flying termites shed their wings after they landed and spent their remaining life without getting into a flight. The couple winged can go nesting to look for moist soil and live in there too.

Before the mating happens, the queen and king burrow in the ground where they dig the royal chamber in soil that is moist. They both seal the nest using the soil, their waste, and saliva. Then, they perform the mating there.

After the mating process, both the queen and king spend their remaining lives on the ground. The worker termites are feeding them. The new queen lays the first batch of eggs, which consists of 6 to 12 eggs after a few weeks of mating. It is the time also when they establish a termite colony. On the other hand, the mature queen lays thousands of eggs every year. When the colony added in size, the queen may now allow more reproductives from new queens to produce more worker termites to feed their termite colonies. One mature termite can produce 60,000 to one million termites. That’s too many colonies to take!

Now, if you see a flying termite near your house or inside your home, you may have their colony somewhere. It is time you call for help and ask for advice from termite control inspection and pest control treatment experts. Pest control companies will look for a colony and may also layout ideas and plans on how to solve your problems with this flying insect.

How Is A Termite Colony Organized?

Like other hive and social insects, termites can be classified by caste:


Unlike many kinds of ants, termites often have more than one queen. There is a primary queen, which is usually the first termite that founded the colony, along with several other secondary queens that also lay eggs and will take over if the primary queen is killed.


There is only one king – the male termite that mates with the queen to help found the colony. He plays a vital role at the beginning of the colony, helping to raise the younger termites as the queen lays eggs to produce a colony. When the founding king dies, in some species, a reproductive will grow into a replacement king.


Soldier termites defend the nest or colony from intruders, usually other insects.


Workers stay inside the nest, building it, tending to eggs and larva, and gathering food. They are white and often die quickly outside the tunnels they have developed from exposure to sunlight.

Reproductives (Also Called Neotenics Or Swarmers)

They the ones you most often see – they fly around in swarms attempting to start new nests. They can also become queens if needed. They will fly for short periods, shedding their wings when they have found a new home.

Where Do Termites Locate Their Colonies?

It depends on the species. Many live in infested wood, and those are the kind that is most annoying to homeowners. They can also build mounds in the ground (like ants), live in trees or nests made outside of trees, underground, or on thin poles such as fence posts. It’s just the ones that live in wood that will hurt your house, however. Subterranean termites can build their homes adjacent to your house and use it as a food source by tunneling into it.

How Are Termite Colonies Formed?

Termite colonies are formed after a mating flight made by the reproductives. A queen and king found the nest together, digging a small space. The queen will lay eggs, while the king will help care for the young. Gradually more and more workers are added, and allowing the colony may help them to grow larger and larger.

How Many Termites Are In A Single Colony?

It can range from a few hundred to a few million. In Africa and Australia, they can be enormous, with up to five million termites. But there are already a lot of pest control companies out there which can help them in their problem with termites.

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