The Life Cycle of a Termite and Warning Signs of Termite Damage
Termites are a bigger problem than you might consider them to be. Termite damage costs more for homeowners than damage due to natural disasters. They proliferate fast and most importantly they eat fast. Hence, it is imperative that you get the termite infestation treated as soon as you find it. Hi Tech Termite Control has been finding and treating termite infestations in Bay Area homes for a long time now.
The Life Cycle of a Termite
Termites are interesting creatures and knowing more about them can help you find and get rid of them more effectively. Here, we will discuss the life cycle of termites.
The queen termite plays the most important role in building the termite colony since she is responsible for the proliferation of the colony. The queen termite can live up to 25 years and lay about 2000 eggs per day. Some colonies could even have more than one queen termite.
Subterranean termites are the most active and sneaky species making them also the most destructive. Subterranean termite eggs are laid deep in the nest which is usually located about 5-10 inches below the ground. It is highly unlikely that you will spot these small, translucent eggs but if you do, know that the termite infestation is severe. Make sure you contact the termite exterminator as soon as you find the eggs or termite nest.
The eggs hatch into nymphs usually in 1 to 2 weeks but this incubation period can differ based on the species. The nymphs are white, soft and similar to worker termites but smaller.
The nymph then will go through the molting process in which it will shed the skin till it develops into a worker termite. All termites start as worker termites but later the queen with the emission of pheromones makes the selected termites progress into other forms.
Nymphs stay at the heart of the colony since they cannot feed on their own. The worker termites share food with them until the nymphs attain worker status.
3. Worker Termites
Worker termites look similar to ants but have straight bodies and are pale white. They also have straight antennae with round heads. These worker termites are responsible for collecting food and hence most of the damage to your property is because of these termites. These termites are vigorous eaters and can travel long distances in search of food.
Worker termites like dark and damp places. Hence, if you suspect subterranean termite activity in your home, check in places like garages, sheds or inside the walls of your home. A professional termite inspector would be able to find the areas of infestation.
Soldier termites can be distinguished by the presence of a big orange head and black mandibles. They are larger than worker termites and they are responsible for the protection of the colony from predators. Worker termites transform into soldier termites on the directive of the queen.
The soldier termites tend to fight predators using their powerful mandibles or alternatively, they will plug their heads in the tunnel holes to prevent predators from getting inside the colony.
Soldier termites are not directly responsible for termite damage but you might come across them first when looking for termite infestation in your home because of their larger size.
Reproductives are black and have long white wings. They are often mistaken for winged ants but you can differentiate the reproductives by the absence of the pinched waist and the cleft at the tips of the wings.
This termite phase is the easiest time when you can spot a termite infestation on your property. The reproductives also known as alates love the light and fresh air and they gather in swarms during summer or spring.
The swarm usually lasts about 30 minutes before they shed their wings, mate and establish their colony. When you note the swarming termites, know that there is an active colony nearby and another new one coming in the future.
Also Read: How Do You Know if You Have a Termite Infestation?
Warning Signs of Termite Infestation
The termites tend to provide different warning signs depending on the phase of the life cycle they are in.
Eggs and Nymphs
These do not directly damage the property and hence it is highly unlikely that you notice them first while searching for an infestation.
Here are some common signs of worker termite activity in your home.
- Bubbling paint or wallpaper.
- Tunnels and channels in damp wood and furniture.
- Tunnels and channels in dead wood or piles of firewood.
- Holes in wooden furniture and wood-based products.
- Holes in cellulose-based products like fabrics and books.
- Spotting of live termites.
Soldier termites do not go searching for food but you can note some signs when the infestation is severe.
- Peculiar sounds arise due to the soldier termites banging their heads on walls or shaking their bodies. They do this to warn the other termites of danger and can be clearly heard with the help of a stethoscope.
- Heads poking out of holes in walls or furniture.
The swarmers are attracted to light and are often spotted during spring.
- A group of swarmers near exterior lights.
- Swarmers near the interior light that try to get out are most likely birthed inside your home hence check for existing termite infestation in your house.
- Shed wings inside or outside your house.
Hi Tech Termite Control
Noticing these warning signs and taking immediate action can save you from spending money on termite damage repair. Check out the various termite treatment options that we offer.
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