What is the Life Cycle of a Termite?
Termites are known for their unique life cycle. From larvae, termites will molt several times before maturing into its designated caste.
The basic life cycle of a termite begins with the reproductive caste:
- A male and female reproductive mate in flight and become king and queen.
- The fertilized queen termite lays the eggs she has been producing.
- Larvae will hatch from the eggs and become nymphs.
- The nymphs will continue to molt up to three times before reaching maturity.
- When mature, the termite will be assigned a caste, or a role within the colony. Each caste has a unique and different physical appearance.
Life Stages of Termites
The termite life cycle begins when the reproductive caste, also known as alates or swarmers, swarm to form new colonies. After mating, the reproductives will drop their wings and the new king and queen hollow out a small chamber in the soil underground, where the queen will lay her eggs. The queen termite will lay up to 30,000 eggs each day. Her eggs hatch into larvae and the young nymph termites will molt three times before being assigned as a reproductive, worker, or soldier.
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How Long do Termites Live?
The life expectancy of a termite varies, depending on their caste or role in the colony. On average, the life span of termites is as follows:
- Worker and soldier termites: one to two years.
- Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers: up to four years.
- Queens are able to live much longer than any other caste: twenty years or more under optimal conditions.
Termite Caste Stages
The concept that determines how a termite is designated into one caste or another is poorly understood. Research has concluded that it is likely decided by social and environmental cues based on the needs of the colony at the time. Some researchers have suggested that the specific caste assigned to a termite can change. Depending on the needs of the colony, certain termites may switch castes entirely at some point during the life cycle.
What is the life cycle of a termite? in El Paso TX
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