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  About Termites

 

Termites are social insects.  Their workers are best described as "little white things" or "little white ants" that are often found in damp, rotting wood. Termites have a strict caste system, which consists of worker termites, soldiers, winged reproductive termites, a queen termite, and a king termite.

 

 

Workers represent the majority of the colony population and are responsible for caring for eggs, constructing and maintaining tunnels, foraging for food and feeding and grooming of other caste members.  They are white and soft bodied.

 

Soldiers are responsible for defending the colony.  They are white, soft bodied with an enlarged, hardened head containing two large jaws, or mandibles, which are used as a weapon against predators.

 

 

 

 

Winged reproductives produce the offspring in the colony and swarm at certain times of the year.  Colonies can have both primary reproductives (one king and one queen), and hundreds of secondary reproductives to assist in egg laying and colony growth.

 

 

 

The King termite assists the queen in creating and attending to the colony during its initial formation.  He will continue to mate throughout his life to help increase the colony size.

 

 

 

 

The Queen termite creates the colony by laying eggs and tending to the colony until enough workers and nymphs are produced to care for the colony.  She can live for more than ten years and produce hundreds of eggs each year.  Colonies can reach several million termites with the help of secondary queens who also produce eggs.

 

Termites have the ability to change from one caste type to another during their immature stages.  This allows the colony to change the proportion of different caste members as the need arises.

 

The two most common types of termites are "drywood" and "ground" termites.  Both types of termites eat cellulose for nutrition.  Cellulose is found in wood and wood products.  Both types of termites have the "flying termite" or "winged reproductive".  These winged termites are new kings and queens attempting to establish a new colony.  They may also be referred to as "swarmers". Ant colonies also send swarmers, which have nearly the same appearance as termites, but may be identified upon closer inspection. 

 

Below you will see the obvious differences between ant and termite swarmers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Distinguish Between Termites and Ants