SUBTERRANEAN TERMITE

Subterranean Termites are smaller compared to Dry-wood and Damp-wood Termites, but highly evolved with powerful, scissor-like jaws. Their other distinctive characteristic is that they build tunnels that often look like mud tunnels to reach the source of food or to protect their colonies from outside weather.
These Termites are found across almost all the terrains including forests, mountains, grassland and arid regions. Subterranean Termite colonies look like miniature cities with more than a million termites. They flock during spring time and reproductive termites go off to a new location to start their own colonies. They have an insatiable appetite and eat almost 24/7 nonstop.

QUICK FACTS

Common name Subterranean Termite
Scientific name Reticulitermes flavipes
Sizes a) Solders approximate 5-7 mm b) Workers approximate 6 mm c) King and queen approximate 10-11 mm
Shape Long, narrow, oval
Colour Creamy brown
Diet Eat wood, wallpaper, plastics and fabric made from plants.
Habit Contact with the soil to survive, live underground, colonies or wet areas above ground.

GIST OF HISTORYTermites have a simple metamorphic life cycle including egg and larval stages. They are typically divided into castes of individuals such as workers, soldiers and reproductive adults.

Worker Termite:Worker termites made up nearly 90-95% of colony and they are the providers and foragers of colony Without the workers, the colony would fail. Workers are slightly smaller than the reproductives, They are wingless and have a shorter head than soldiers. They can be male or female and the sex is irrelevant because they are immature and do not reproduce. The worker’s duties are to care for the colony members like the termite eggs, termite larvae or nymphs, secondary reproductive, soldiers, king and queen. They clean the colony, feed the colony and regulate the temperature of the eggs and nymphs. Workers are the sole providers and home keepers of the colony performing a host of tasks as well as collecting food, feeding the queen, soldiers and the young and constructing galleries in the wood. The average lifespan of worker is around 2 years. .

Soldier Termites:Soldier Termites make up nearly 1 to 3% of a colony’s population. Soldiers are wingless with caramel- coloured bodies and long, narrow, amber-coloured heads with no eyes. Soldiers are soft, throughout much of their bodies having a modified head region with powerful mandibles. They use the mandibles to secrete toxin from their head to ward off the invaders. Soldiers are unable to feed themselves and they are defended by workers. Like the worker the average lifespan of a solider is about 1 to 2 years.

Reproductive Adults:: In other words, they are the kings and the queen. They have dark bodies, compound eyes and wings. Only a few reproductive adults are present in the colony. These adults are the swarmers and they swarm to find mates. The king and the queen are the only reproductively active members of the colony.

The King: There are usually 5 - 8 kings that mate with queen throughout her lifetime. The king is present to keep the queen fertilized so she can lay eggs. The average lifespan of a King is around 25 years.

The Queen:Interestingly, usually there will be only one queen in the colony, though large colonies have two or more queens. Once there are sufficient amount of workers to take care of her, she increases her egg production and begins to produce on an average 30,000 eggs in a day. That’s 1,09,50,000 eggs per year. They are dark brown in pigment and are fully developed with wings. The average lifespan of a Queen is around 25 to 50 years.