Just like other animals, termites experience several phases during their life cycle.
The cycle begins when a fertilized female lays her eggs. These eggs look like caviar, but are much smaller, white, translucent and ovoid in shape. A new queen will lay approximately two-dozen eggs in her first clutch and will continue laying eggs throughout her life span, which can last for over a decade in optimal conditions. The eggs are large enough to be visible to the naked eye, but they are laid in sheltered conditions, so they are often unseen. These conditions can be in wall interiors or underground nests, making it hard for humans to readily spot them. Though eggs are the first stage in the termite life cycle, and of course important for the colony, their presence does not indicate an infestation. Though the reproductive termites are not usually responsible for causing structural damage, it is crucial that worker termites be exterminated in order to eliminate the entire infestation.
Termites follow a typical insect life style. It’s gradual – they begin as eggs, then enter nymphal to adult stages. Newly hatched termites are often referred to as “larvae,” but they do not undergo a metamorphosis like flies do. These larvae typically hatch within a few weeks. Size-wise they are approximately the same as the eggs they hatched from. Worker termites tend to the newly hatched larvae.
The Rest of the Termite Life Cycle
Termite larvae go through a series of molts in which they shed their skins. After the larval stage the termite will evolve into another caste – such as a worker, soldier, or reproductive. This decision is often based on the needs of the colony.
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