Different Types Of Termites In A Colony – Just like us humans, termites are very sociable creatures – they watch each others backs! However, whilst some of us may complain about our teenage kids “eating us out of house and home” these little pests literally can achieve this. You will find termites living in colonies in numbers of anything from hundreds of thousands to several million – all one huge family! They all work together in an extremely organised way to source and gather food in the form of cellulose – found in wood, paper, leaves, natural fibres etc. so that the colony can continue to grow and expand. This amazing team work is known as “swarm intelligence” and is the reason why termites are so incredibly successful in their survival.
However as with any organisation termites have ranks a bit like the armed forces, certain termites specialize in certain tasks.
Different Types Of Termites In A Colony
The largest group and probably the lowest ranking termites are the “workers.” These continuously hunt for food using the tunnels which go from the colony nest through the earth, and into the wood which could easily be the frame of your house! They do this twenty-four-seven as well as taking care of the queen, her young and all the other termites. This is because only these worker termites can digest the cellulose matter, so they have to regurgitate it back at the colony to feed all the other termites. You will very rarely catch any of these worker termites away from the underground tunnels. What do they look like? well, they are light coloured with a soft body and usually measure no more than 10 mm in length. They are often likened to a grain of rice.
Soldier termites are next, these have longer heads and amazingly powerful jaws. As the name “soldier termite” would suggest these members of the colony are responsible for security. They will defend the colony from predators, most often from ants who try to invade.
Then there are the termites which are responsible for breeding and the introduction of new colonies. Both males and females grow wings and flee their home colony in a massive swarm to begin the mating and breeding process elsewhere.
The Queen – the most important of the termites and the biggest usually around 10 cm in length and on her own immobile. To move the queen it needs a good few hundred workers to push her. This is the termite responsible for populating the colony, would you believe she will lay an egg every 15 seconds? Should she die she is replaced quickly by another reproductive termite.
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The chances of you actually seeing any of these termite troops in action around your property is pretty much non existent – unless you witness a swarm leaving the colony, even then it is difficult to tell if it is termites. However signs of these pests will become obvious when they begin to attack the wood structure of your home! If you suspect a termite problem you need help from a professional and fast!