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The reproductives live in a central chamber in the nest in which a lady , or queen, will put many thousands of eggs each year over her entire life span of approximately a decade. Male, or kings, are responsible for fertilising the queens. Reproductives are commonly observed.
The young termites develop in the colony by shedding cuticles at the end of every growth stage, gradually changing until they reach the employee, soldier or adult (winged form). If queens die, some supplementary reproductives can carry on the colony as neotenics.
Reproductives are generally darker than workers and soldiers. They have functional eyes and their stronger skin (cuticle) is able to resist the outside environment. Once flight, unlike other insects, the deciduous wings of termites are lost and piles of discard wings are a good clue to termite infestations.
Officials have heads that are darker than the other castes. They are blind, wingless, and have undeveloped reproductive organs.
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Soldiers are more demanding than the other castes and take longer to die from most toxins, exposure, or starvation. It is their role to defend the colony, if upset, while the damage is fixed by the workers.
Soldiers exist in different types. Many species have soldiers, with well-developed jaws (mandibles) used to crush attackers, such as ants.
Nastute soldiers occur in Nasustitermes species and therefore are only infrequently found as pests in Victoria. They have a snout where they eject a sticky solution which disturbs and glues attackers.
Soldiers have a head, which can be wedged in tunnels to block attackers. The drywood termites, that use this particular strategy, are only occasional introductions to Victoria.
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The employees account for the largest number of termites within the colony, and are therefore responsible for the most damage.
They collect food construct tunnels and fix damage in addition to tending to the kings, queens and their young. These termites are believed to operate 24 hours per day throughout their 4-year life span. Worker termites are generally unpigmented. They are blind, wingless and have undeveloped reproductive organs. .
Termites hatch from eggs that have been tended by their nest mates in specially constructed nurseries.
As soon as they are mature enough, the young work within the colony where jobs change with age and adulthood.
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Once a single colony gets sufficiently large it generates winged reproductives which wait in specially constructed chambers until prepared to depart the nest and undertake a colonising flight.
They leave the nest for a swarm under conditions of high humidity, still air, and at times low light. Termites are not strong fliers and usually only fly around 1km, but breezes and updrafts can take them a lot further.
Upon landing near a suitable nest site, the female sheds her wings and emits a calling scent. Men respond.
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They dig in and over the next few weeks, mate and take care of their young until enough workers develop to take over the care roles.
New colonies are sometimes established via budding. This is believed to occur when the extremities of this colony get rid of contact and eventually become independent.
The main king and queen are thought to hormones, which suppress the development of the remainder of the colony. This control breaks down if the land is big or contact with groups is lost.
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Termites work collectively in nests or colonies. They hatch from eggs as mammals, which are fed by adult termites. They then develop into castes or four forms of termite:
Soldiers have black heads, are blind, wingless, and have undeveloped reproductive organs. Soldiers are more demanding than other useful site castes and might take longer to control. Several species of soldier termites have strong jaws (mandibles) utilized to crush attackers, like ants.
Workers are colourless, blind, wingless and have undeveloped reproductive organs. Employees are the caste within a colony and are, therefore, responsible for damage.
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Reproductives which are darker in colour have functional eyes and robust skin. This caste becomes the leaders of prospective colonies.
The temperature, food grade, and activity of the colony will determine how long it takes for a termite.
Nests and tunnels are stored moist because employee termites cannot stand low humidity for long periods of time. The temperature within the nursery of a massive nest ranges between 10 C and 35 C but varies more than one level a day. The relative humidity is approximately 100 per cent.
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It's important to properly identify the kind of termite before beginning treatment. This can help you understand the habits of this colony, find the nest and indicate the system of control.