We’ll have a look at what termites look like when they are exposed outside of their colony:
The termite Queen has one sole purpose and that is to breed and produce more termites for the rest of the colony. She wasn’t originally this large; in fact she used to fly in a swarm but had to settle down so she could start breeding. Her lifespan can be up to 10 years long and she can produce thousands or even hundreds of thousands of eggs.
It’s the queen’s children that make up the rest of the termite colony and their role is to serve her dutifully. She is unable to protect herself and without her children feeding and taking care of her, she would soon die. In fact, she is so large she is unable to move by herself and is more like a large egg laying factory.
Whilst the worker termites are on the lowest level in the hierarchy, they serve the most important role. They do all the work: they collect the food, they look after the young, they repair and clean the colony and they will help out the soldiers in a fight if back up is required.
Worker termites have a soft, light-colored skin which looks similar in size to large bits of long-grained rice. As with all types of termites, they prefer working underground or beneath a surface when possible, although you will see them on the surface sometimes, they are very vulnerable to strong light and heat. Some of the workers will go out and
forage for food whilst other workers will have the task of looking after the young. They are quite strong by themselves but by working together they can be a very effective force.
Bigger than a worker termite and the primary role of the soldier termites is defence and protection. You can tell the difference between a soldier and a worker termite as the soldiers have large claw-like jaws which are often of a darker color. Their skin is also thicker and tougher than a worker’s, offering them better protection for when they get into fights. This helps to protect the colony from invaders such as ants and spiders.
You’ll often seen soldiers when you first start trying to destroy an infestation. They will be the first line of defence that tries to rush out and protect the other termites, especially if you have made any major openings into the
The termite king has the supporting role to the queen (and probably the easiest role in the colony). The king just has to breed with the queen and father the rest of the termites in a colony. His size is much smaller than the queen and he is too weak to look after himself without help from his worker children.
So now if you ever have to ask yourself the question “what do termites look like?”, hopefully this page will now have given you a better idea.