Termites colonies are incredibly complex and quite fascinating, but that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to gnaw away at your home. Termites are social insects that have caste systems within their colonies. The three castes include the workers, which forage for food and build nests, the soldiers, which defend the colony, and the reproductive caste, which includes the king and queen of the colony whom mate for life. We could spend all day talking about the termite caste system, but to spare you the details, check out these five interesting facts about termite colony caste systems:
- Worker termites consist of sterile males and females. They are underdeveloped and blind, and must communicate using pheromones and vibrations caused by banging their heads on surfaces.
- Soldier termites have jaws that are suitable for fighting, but not for eating, meaning worker termites must regurgitate food into their mouths.
- The queen is in charge of laying eggs, and can determine what caste the offspring will be in by releasing certain pheromones based on the needs of the colony. Queens can lay up to 40,000 eggs per day, making termite control necessary to get rid of the infestation.
- Queens can live upwards of 30 years in some cases. Most colonies have one queen, and a group of what are essentially an insect version of ladies-in-waiting who attends to the queen’s needs. When the queen dies, one of these female termites may take her place.
- At certain times of the year, the queen will produce a group of highly-developed alates, or winged termites. These termites will swarm (usually in warm weather), pair up with a mate, and go on to form their own colonies. Most homeowners do not realize they have a termite infestation until thousands of the pests are flying around their house.
Termite Diet And Why Termite Control Is Important
It’s a well-known fact that termites like wood, but truthfully they will eat any dead plant matter. This is bad news for homeowners, as houses are technically framed almost entirely of dead plant matter. Even chemically-treated wood that is said to be “termite-resistant” can be vulnerable if it gets wet and begins to rot, or if the wood is cut or splits and internal, untreated wood is exposed. Termites are known to cause upwards of 5 billion dollars worth of structural damage every year.
You will likely never lay eyes on the king and queen of an insect colony, but you might catch a glimpse of swarmers, soldiers, and workers. Swarming termites, the ones you are most likely to encounter when they come out to mate, are about half an inch long, dark brown, have a thick waist, and have two sets of wings that are the same size. Workers are about a quarter-inch long, cream-colored, and wingless. Soldier termites are a little bigger than worker termites, and are defined by their dark heads and large mandibles (pincers). Soldiers will emerge to defend a colony, especially against ants — a termite’s main enemy.
Contact Your Termite Exterminators In LA
If you are in need of termite control in the greater Los Angeles area, you know who to call! Death Row Pest Management can conduct termite inspections, tented termite fumigations, wood repair caused by hungry termites, and perform regular termite control to keep colonies at bay. To learn more about our termite extermination services, get in touch today!