For total termite control, you’ll need to make sure that the queen termite dies. Talk to any extermination company you’re considering working with, to make sure that they understand where the queen fits into the overall termite social structure and why destroying her is so important. If you’re not sure why she’s so important, read on for more information.
What is a Queen Termite?
In a termite colony, only a few of the insects can reproduce. These, both male and female, are known as the reproductive termites. They are the only ones that can fly, though their wings fall off after fertilization.
Under certain conditions, usually having to do with outdoor temperature and humidity, the male reproductive termites form a swarm. The females fly into this swarm and their eggs are fertilized. Then, they fly off to other locations and start colonies of their own. These females, once they’ve set up their own colony, are known as the queen of that colony. They are solely responsible for producing new termites in that colony, and in the role can lay up to 1000 eggs a day.
The queen has some general way of keeping track of how many members her colony has, and how many members of each caste. When the colony needs more protection, she’ll produce more soldier termites. When they need more food, she’ll produce more workers. When the colony is getting to its optimum size, she’ll create more reproductive termites to go off and start colonies of their own.
Why Destroy the Queen?
Without the queen, a colony of termites will die off. If there isn’t an insect capable of laying eggs and controlling the colony’s population, the adults will slowly die. Even eggs already laid will hatch, live out their lifespan, and die off. Thus, if you want to get rid of a colony of these insects, getting rid of the queen is a great way to do it.
Unfortunately, queen termites are notoriously difficult to kill, even with more innovative methods like using ants for termite control. They never venture out of the reproductive part of the colony, which is generally somewhere in the middle and well-protected by soldier termites. Thus, it’s impossible to set a trap specifically to kill the queen, because she would never even enter it.
Generally, the best way to kill a queen termite is through baiting. Though she does not feed herself, worker termites bring her food. They carry it to her and allow her to eat. If the food is poisoned, then she will consume the poison just like any other insect would. However, it can be difficult to get poisoned food to a queen, as the worker often consumes it first and dies himself.
Fumigation is another good way to kill a queen, if you have the right kind of termites. Because it is only helpful in dealing with an infestation of drywood termites, it is not always an effective method of termite control. However, if your infestation is of the drywood variety, sending toxic fumes into your walls should kill all of your termites, the queen included.
At this point, you should understand why eliminating the queen termite is essential to achieving total termite control. While an extermination company may not be able to know for sure if they have successfully killed off the queen termite, they should have a good track record for getting rid of overall infestations. They should also know how the queen dies, and how best to facilitate that.