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The Life Cycle of Termites

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Termites have the power to destroy your home if they go unnoticed. Your home’s wood, drywall and even some metals can fall victim to a colony of termites. You might ask yourself: how long do termites live? As a homeowner, it’s important to know their life cycle since it directly affects you. Below we will explain how termites reproduce and how long they live.

Where Do Termites Live?

Termite colonies live in the ground or your home’s infrastructure. A colony can have up to 75 different termites. When the weather is extreme and termites have a lower risk of survival, nests can be started in one of two ways. One way is to transfer the infected wood or material to a new location. The second way is to divide a food source, which can cause a subcolony to break off and reproduce.

Signs of termites are:

  • Shed wings left behind
  • Swarms
  • Mud tubes
  • Cracked or bubbling paint
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped

What Kind of Termites Exist?

There are three different kinds of termites: workers, soldiers and swarmers. They all serve a different purpose in the colony.

Workers

  • Build or repair the nest
  • Look for food sources to feed the colony
  • Maintain the colony

Soldiers

  • They are sterile, so they can’t reproduce
  • Protect the colony

Swarmers

  • Their main purpose is to reproduce
  • They have two pair of wings

When Do They Reproduce?

Swarmers tend to emerge from their nests in large groups in the spring after the cold weather is over. Female swarmers then release pheromones (basically, a mating scent similar to perfume), which attract the male swarmers. Then, the male swarmers break off their wings – and that symbolizes they are now a couple. Once they select a mate, the new couple becomes king and queen of this new colony.

It can take up to four years for a new colony to produce its own reproductive termites. In one year, the queen can lay anywhere from zero to about 20 eggs. Queens can live to be as old as 30.

For more information on termites and their life cycle, visit Dustin Pest Control.

Written by Ryan

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