The Workings Of A Subterranean Termite Colony



To beat your enemy, you must first know your enemy. When subterranean termites wage war on your home, it is good to understand the rank and file of this invading army. With this knowledge, you will know how to strike at the heart of your enemy, and prevail.


Once a subterranean termite colony has matured, which usually takes 2 to 4 years, male and female swarmers are produced. These king and queen swarmers are the first step in a new cycle, so it all begins with them. The most notable trait of swarmers is that they do not eat wood. Their primary purpose is to produce eggs. These are weak fliers, and do not travel far from the mature colony. If they travel any distance, it is due to the wind carrying them. And, only a small percentage survive to develop a new colony. A surviving king or queen will crawl under a rock, moist wood, construction material, or other organic debris and lay eggs.

The King

There are no dead beat dads in the termite army. Termite kings continue to mate with the queen to produce more eggs, and help take care of the babies--or larvae--that hatch.


Weeks after eggs are laid, larvae hatch. The larvae then molt into pseudergate workers. These termites have no eyes, do not have developed reproductive organs, and are responsible for the majority of damage that termites do to homes. Their responsibilities are to feed and groom colony members, and construct and repair the nest.


Workers are sometimes needed for other duties and will form into pre-soldiers, and ultimately, soldiers. The role of the soldier is defense of the colony, usually against ants. Like the workers, soldiers are blind and must rely on chemical and tactile feedback to attack their enemy with their rapid lunging movements. When necessary they take their large, hard head, and use it to plug the entrance holes of the nest.

The Queen

The job of the queen is to produce eggs. Her children all tend to her. She is the center of their world, as they wait patiently for each egg to come out. If she dies, life for the termites living in the colony ceases to make any sense. With no queen, the mound will die out.

Understanding the role of the queen is the key to termite prevention. Using bait technologies like the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System, a professional pest controller can get workers to bring poison past soldiers and deep into the heart of the enemy's base. The workers then feed all the termites in the colony, including the queen. When the queen dies, the colony dies.

That's how you win the war.


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