Workers, Soldiers, and Winged Reproductives
When it comes to termites, they all have their individual roles. Termites and ants are similar in that each role is meant for the survival of the entire colony.
There are three main roles: The workers, the soldiers, and the reproductives. These three roles are in addition to the queen and the king and they are all very important roles, although they tend to be pests.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that termites are needed for the ecosystem because they are what makes soil worth planting with. However, you don’t want them in your home or devouring any structures on your property. The damage that they cause is expensive and they can actually cause structures to collapse over time.
The workers are responsible for keeping the other termites fed and they also create the tunnels that the termites travel through. They are sexually immature and they are very pale in color. They are also blind. They rely on their senses to navigate.
The workers are also responsible for grooming the other termites. Although you wouldn’t think of termites as being sanitary creatures, they are. They require upkeep, which is why each termite has its own role. Even their physiology is related to the role that they have. Since workers are sexually immature, they are not going to reproduce. They also lack qualities that the soldiers have, so they are not going to be guarding the colony. They are just going to do their job and not worry about a role that is not their own.
The workers live only a couple of years, but they are always replaced by new workers so that the colony continues.
Soldiers have large heads because they have jaws that will grab another insect and will kill it if another insect would threaten the colony.
You can usually pick the soldiers out from the others in the colony because of their large heads. They patrol around the colony in order to make sure that there are no threats that are going to destroy the colony. Although people and animals are a threat, they usually do not bite, but it is not entirely impossible that they won’t. They do, however, take their roles very seriously because it is up to them to work in conjunction with the workers to ensure survival of the colony.
The reproductives are those that reproduce. When two reproductives come together after taking flight and landing in an area that they find favorable, they will mate. If they are the initial maters, they become the king and queen. Of course, amongst their eggs will hatch other reproductives and they will remain with the colony and reproduce as well. But it is the responsibility of the king and the queen to be the primary reproducers.
Termites reproduce so rapidly that it does not take long for a colony to grow. Actually, it can grow at an alarming rate because of the reproduction that occurs. Plus, there is not usually an extreme threat to the colony. If a threat does exist, the soldiers take care of it. And the termites also don’t have to worry about starving or having a lack of escape routes because the workers take care of those aspects.
Most workers, soldiers, and winged reproductive termites have a lifespan of about two years, but the queen can live up to 50 years. This is a really long time in term of insects and as long as that queen is alive and she is reproducing, a single termite colony can last many years unless it is exterminated. If a colony were to be permitted to keep going, they can be very destructive.