Subterranean termites have one major advantage over other species – their colonies. These colonies are built underground, instead of wood, and they allow the subterranean termites to expand freely and stay safe from many predators and unfavorable weather conditions. This also affects how subterranean termite infestations start, and how they develop over the course of time. Let’s take a closer look at these colonies.
The caste system
Like all termite colonies, subterranean termites have a caste system in place that consists of workers, soldiers and reproductives. The workers will go out to forage for wood, build the colony, and make sure that everything is clean and everyone is well fed. The soldiers are tasked with protecting the colony. Believe it or not, ants are actually quite the fearsome predators, and they prey on termites. So the soldiers are built in a way that helps them block tunnels and fight other insects that may invade. Finally, you have the reproductive caste, with the queen at the top. Swarmers are also a part of this caste, and they are winged termites that have the capacity to reproduce. When there are enough swarmers, they fly out of the colony, mate, and then the male swarmers die and the females start a new colony.
The life cycle of a colony
All subterranean termite colonies start with a swarmer. After mating, the new queen will shed its wings and start building out the nest and laying the first few eggs. After the eggs hatch, the queen will feed and rear the larvae until they are old enough to start working. When this happens, the queen will no longer have to take care of the day to day tasks of the colony, and instead, it will focus solely on creating new workers. From here on out, the colony continues to grow more and more, and eventually, the colony reaches maturity. At this point, the queen will start laying eggs that will produce swarmers and the cycle continues.
How these colonies are controlled
Getting rid of a subterranean termite colony will require professional intervention. A pro will either install a chemical barrier, a baiting system, or both, to ensure that the colony is destroyed and that it can no longer reach your home. For more information about subterranean termite colonies and how they are controlled, or if you have an infestation on your property, contact us today.