What is the Life Cycle of a Termite?
The termite life cycle is very unique. After their development stages, they branch off into different paths to form castes. The termite life cycle contains these stages: egg, nymph, older nymph, worker, soldier, drone, and queen.
Termites follow this path through their life stages:
- Male and female reproductives will swarm and start another colony in a new home.
- The queen termite will start to lay eggs.
- Larvae will emerge and become nymphs.
- The nymphs will molt three times before reaching maturity.
- When ready, the termite will be assigned a caste.
The Life Cycle of Termites
The termite life cycle begins when the swarmers find a new place to colonize. After a male and female mate, they shed their wings and excavate a small chamber in the soil that they’ve found. The then queen will start to lay her eggs, sometimes reaching up to 30,000 in a day! Her eggs will progress through multiple stages of life before being assigned their caste type.
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How Long Does a Termite Live For?
Different termite caste types live for different lengths of time. On average, termites live for this long:
- Workers and soldiers live for one to two years.
- Reproductives can live for up to four years.
- The termite queen has been known to live for up to twenty years in the right environment.
When Do Termites Get Assigned Their Caste?
Researchers are still uncertain as to exactly why termites are given a certain caste designation. It seems that a mixture of social and environmental cues determine caste, based on the needs of the colony. Some scientists also speculate that termites can switch castes to help out their colony and fill roles that are lacking.