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Queen Castes:

queen termite castes

King and Queen.

These two initiate the colony and produce hundreds to thousands of fertilized eggs per day.  The King and Queen establish the colony and feed and care for the young until there are enough workers to take over the nursery.

The Queen is confined to her royal chamber and is tended to and fed by the workers. She may become enlarged over time and can become as big as 3 cm in length. She can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day and has been known to live over 20 years. The older she gets the more her productive capacity declines. The colony will then select a supplementary queen and kings. These queens do not produce as many eggs as the original queen.

Alates:

alates

Termite Castes:

Termite nest consist of different cast types. Below is a list of some of the different cast that can be found in a termite nest.

termite lifecycle

Workers.

These make up the majority of a termite colony or nest. Their job is to build and repair the nest and gallery systems. They are also responsible for collecting food (damaging timber) and feeding the other members of the colony. They are blind, sterile and wingless.

Soldiers.

This caste is responsible for protecting the colony. Their defence mechanisms will change depending on the species of the termites. Most consists of one of the follow, biting, chemical attack by secreting toxic or repellent chemicals, and physical barriers using their bodies.

Alates.

These are winged reproductive which are released from the colony at a particular time of the year to fly off in order to find a mate and start a new colony.

They are usually released on a warm humid evening and can sometimes be described as looking like smoke coming out of the ground.

They have compound eyes, are often large than the soldiers and workers and will grow through the different stages until fully developed where they are winged. They may be selected as supplementary kings and queens.

Nymphs.

This is the worker of primitive species. There is no true worker caste which means the nymph moults until it reaches an advanced stage of growth.

These advanced stages can be feeding and moulting without differentiation into any particular caste, moulting to a soldier, moulting to an alate (reproductive termite). Termites in the other species have the workers, soldiers and reproductive determined very early on in their nymphal development.

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