Termite identification begins and ends with the queen. While a termite queen is the type of termite that you are most likely to see--and therefore the termite most in need of a description-- however, it is also the type of termite that you're least likely to see. What? How can both of these statements be true? Read on to learn more about this mystery as well as how to identify each individual member of the termite colony, including the queens!
Life begins with the queen. She is the termite responsible for producing all of the offspring in a nest, and the central focal point of every termite in the colony. They groom her, feed her, and care for the babies she produces. She is special. Not just in the role she plays, but also in her appearance. As she produces offspring, her abdomen grows, and grows, and grows. The queen of a mature colony can have an abdomen that is as large as 20 adult termites, or larger. But, her head and thorax remain their original size. This makes her look quite strange compared to the other termites around her. Not that you are likely to ever see her. She will be in the heart of her nest, and most termite nests are found in the ground, or inside wood.
The offspring that a termite queen produces are tiny white insects with six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. These tiny insects develop into workers. As they do, they become more of a pale/tan or orange color, depending on the species. The job of worker termites is to tunnel through the ground or tunnel through wood to find food and share that food with their colony. For this reason, you are as likely to see worker termites as you are to see a queen termite. Though, it is possible. If you are working on some home renovations, you may tear out a wall that has termites in it. Or you may see these termites when you break a dead shrub, old log, or dead tree apart.
Some workers are called on to defend their nest. These workers develop into soldiers. While soldiers have all of the insect characteristics of the worker termites (six legs, two antennae, and three body parts), they develop a darker orange coloring and have larger heads. That large head is used to plug holes and keep predators as well as invading ants out of termite tunnels. These termite soldiers also develop black pincers that are used in defending the colony. These physical differences give termite soldiers a similar appearance to earwigs.
Termite Reproductives, Or "Swarmers"
Some termites are called on for another purpose. When a nest matures, offspring may be encouraged to develop into male and female reproductives. These termites are often called swarmers because of the behavior they exhibit when they leave a nest in search of a location to establish a new nest. These termites are a dark color with prominent white wings and are responsible for growing or creating new colonies.
The Mystery Unveiled: Queens Vs. Female Reproductives
Do you remember the mystery we touched on in the first paragraph? A portion of the swarmers produced by a mature nest are females that will go on to be the queens of their own nests. Before they do, they are likely to be seen. In fact, they are highly likely to be seen, especially in the spring or summer months. The white wings on swarmers make them hard to miss, especially when they are in a group. These white-winged termites with their dark-colored bodies are most often seen when they emerge from a structure that is already infested with termites. If you're seeing dozens or hundreds of white-winged insects on your property, it is highly probable that you have an infestation of termites.
So, as you can see, termite identification begins and ends with the queen termite. She is the termite you are least likely, and most likely, to see. If you see queens (or kings) crawling around on the walls of your property, it is vital that you have a professional pest control company like Innovative Pest Control come perform a termite inspection on your property as termites can literally eat you out of house and home!
If you haven't seen termite swarmers on your property, don't wait until you see them to take action against termites. The presence of termite swarmers is a sign that a mature termite colony exists on your property. And a mature colony on your property means it is too late to stop the damage. Get proactive termite protection and stop termites "before" they have the chance to eat away at your equity!
Contact Innovative Pest Control For Termite Treatments
If this pest-proofing advice finds you too late and you're already dealing with termites inside your house and around your property, Innovative Pest Control can help! Don't make the mistake of trying to tackle termite control in East Texas on your own. Our trained licensed technicians service Tyler, Flint, Mineola, Lindale, Jacksonville, and East Texas, and are just a phone call or a click away. Give us a call at (903) 345-3736 or simply fill out our form to get started!