The Termite Life Cycle Castes

December 11, 2013

The Termite Life Cycle Castes

December 11, 2013

Termites are miniscule insects that can cause an enormous amount of damage to a home. A termite colony has a life span of up to fifty years, and can consist of several generations of termites. Termites have three different castes of insects that make up a colony. Each caste of insect has a different life cycle. Below is some information about the termite life cycle for each different caste.


As the name suggests, these are the only caste of termites in a colony that reproduce. Reproductives are the only caste of termites that have wings or the ability to see, which are both necessary for the colonization process. There are four types of reproductives: Alates; de-alates; kings and queens; and neotenics. Alates are very young reproductives that have not yet mated. Once they leave the nest for the mating and colonizing flight and shed their wings, they become de-alates, producing only a limited number of eggs until the newly formed colony is large enough to support increased growth. When this happens, they become kings and queens, laying up to 1000 eggs every day. Considering that a single queen has a life span of fifty years or more, that’s a lot of offspring. Neotenics help the queen lay eggs during years of peak egg production. If the queen dies, a neotenic will step up and take her place.


Soldiers are sterile, wingless and blind termites – both male and female – that work to defend the colony from any unwanted intruders. Soldiers utilize their powerful jaws to fight and have the ability to emit a white sticky substance that repels invaders. Soldiers are incapable of feeding themselves, and therefore have to receive sustenance from worker termites. A soldier’s life cycle lasts only one to two years.


Like soldiers, workers are also sterile, wingless and blind termites that can be male or female. Workers perform vital tasks for the entire colony, building the nest, excavating galleries, gathering food, and feeding the colony’s reproductives and soldiers. The life span of a worker termite, like that of a soldier, lasts one to two years.

ACTION Termite Control offers a free inspection to locate any termite colonies, identify the type of termite infestation you have, and provide treatments to rid your home of these destructive pests for good. Call (877) 556-4131 today to learn more about the life cycle of a termite or to make an appointment for your FREE home termite inspection from the experts at ACTION Termite.

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