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What is the Life Cycle of a Termite?

What is the life cycle of a termite?Termites follow one of the most unique life cycles out of all pests. This is due to their eventual assignment into a unique caste, or work role, within the colony. In general, termites have the following life cycle:

    1. The queen termite will lay the eggs she has been producing.
    2. After the queen termite lays her eggs, young larvae will hatch.
    3. The termite nymphs will molt until it reaches maturity in its designated caste, which can take up to three molts.
    4. From there, the termite will fulfill its specific duties based on the caste it has been assigned.

Termite Life Cycle in the Midwest

When the reproductive caste, also known as alates or swarmers, swarms to form new colonies, this is when the start of a new termite life cycle begins. After a male and female alate mate, the reproductives will shed their wings and the new king and queen excavate a small chamber in the soil underground, where the queen begins to lay her eggs. The queen termite can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a day. Her eggs hatch into larvae and the nymph termites will molt three times before being assigned as a reproductive, worker, or soldier. Termites will continue to work and build their colony until they die off.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Termite?

Termites live for varying lengths of time depending on their caste. In general, termites live for the following amounts of time:

  • Worker and soldier termites live for one to two years.
  • Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers, can live for nearly 4 years.
  • The termite queen has been known to survive for twenty years or more under prime conditions.

When Are Termites Designated a Caste?

It has not been discovered how exactly termites are designated a caste. All research that has been conducted suggests that the designation depends on social and environmental cues based on the needs of the colony. Scientists have also speculated that termites can switch castes at any point depending on the needs of the colony.

What is the Life Cycle of a Termite? Serving Illinois and Indiana

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