Termites are highly social insects that live in colonies where populations can reach more than one million. A colony consists of several structurally differentiated forms living together as castes (including reproductives, soldiers, and workers) with different functions in the colony community life.
It is a colonial, social insect building colonies either above or below ground. The worker termites are best described as “little white ants” though they do not come under the family of ants. The termites travel back to soil colonies to maintain moisture, intestinal symbiont etc., and necessary for their existence.
It has strict cast system which includes a king, queen, workers, soldiers, and reproductives or alates (winged termites). The termite colony is maintained by division of labor among the caste.
|Termite Worker||Termite Soldier||Termite king||Termite Queen||Termite Alates
( eesal in Tamil)
|Termite life cycle||Termite tubes signs of infestation||Infested wood||Wood after complete damage by termites|
Workers represent the majority and take care of eggs, constructing and maintaining tunnels/tubes, foraging for food and feeding and grooming of the other members. They are sterile and blind. They can forage through cracks and crevices in building as small as 1/64th of an inch.
Soldier is responsible for defending the colony which has two large jaws or mandibles used as a weapon against predators. They are sterile and blind.
Queen termite creates the colony by laying eggs and tending the colony until enough workers and nymphs are produced and keep producing thousands of eggs each day continuously during rest of the life.
King termite assists initially during the colony formation and continues to mate through out the life to help increase the colony size.
Alates swarm at certain times of the year in millions to establish new colonies. These winged females and males form pair bonds with male closely following the female in search of nesting location. Once they have paired they shed their wings and remain flightless developing the colony.
Life Span: Queen Termite can live between 10 to 15 years and worker and soldier termites can live up to 2-5 years.
Diet: Termite eats wood and other cellulose materials like paper, cloth etc which is digested with the help of bacterial or protozoan symbiont in their gut which is regained from the feces of another termites and do not need a water source.
Communication: Termites communicate by pheromone trials for others to follow when a new source of food is found, alarm pheromone that triggers the soldiers to attack, creates vibrations by banging their heads against the tunnels to mobilize the colony to defend itself. Mutual exchange of food supports colony member’s recognition.
One year contract: initial treatment supported by check up visits.
Five year warranty: Post construction un-abutted buildings subject to feasibility to construct perfect continuous barrier internally and externally.
Ten Year warranty: Pre-construction un-abutted buildings subject to feasibility to construct perfect continuous barrier internally and externally.
- Stack firewood at the far end of the garden.
- Make sure that leaves and garden waste aren’t stored next to the house.
- Ensure regular maintenance of taps and pipes.
- Provide good ventilation in crawl spaces.