All hail her royal highness, the queen of the colony! Termite colony, that is. So who is the termite queen, and why is she important? If you’ve struggled with a termite infestation, or perhaps you’ve just discovered you have one, then the queen is someone you’ll definitely want to know!
How Does a Termite Infestation Start?
Termites in existing colonies will stay there until conditions are ideal to leave. This exodus is known as the nuptial flight. Colonies will often coordinate flights to overwhelm predators and avoid inbreeding. During the nuptial flight, thousands of termites leave to find mates and begin their own colonies.
Virgin queens release pheromones to attract male suitors. After successfully mating, the king and queen will land, scratch off their wings, and burrow underground to create their own colony, filling it with a plethora of offspring. This begins a new role for the queen: reproduction.
Building a Termite Colony
To spend your entire life laying eggs would be quite a feat. Doing so for 10 years, laying 30,000 eggs per day in the royal chamber, is mind blowing. It goes without saying that an infestation can become large in no time. Fortunately for the queen, her abdomen is made for laying eggs. She can handle the volume of 10,950,000 eggs per year.
As you can imagine, laying that many eggs has an impact on the size of the queen termite. The sac containing the eggs, or ovipositor, becomes so enormous that the queen becomes tremendously larger than the rest of the colony—and too fat to move ever again. She has worker termites whose sole purpose is taking care of her. The colony will have another queen take over her duties of reproduction.
The queen also employs worker termites to stack freshly laid eggs. Ironically, when the queen is too old to lay any more eggs, those same workers go from licking her to eating her alive.
Kill the Termite Queen, Kill the Colony
Effective termite elimination includes terminating the queen. In doing so, the workers and soldiers will only survive for a few more weeks. The loss of the queen is also the loss of all reproduction and pheromones, which are used to maintain colony control.
Experts state that eliminating the queen is the most effective way to stamp out an infestation. The most effective way to eliminate subterranean termites is to have Budget Brothers Termite & Pest apply a non-repellent product like Termidor HE or Dupont Altriset. These products allow subterranean termites to forage through the material not knowing it’s just a matter of time before they are all eliminated.
Fumigation is another consideration and should be handled by a professional. This method is not effective with all types of termites. A professional can help determine what variety you’re dealing with and what the best approach is.
Locating the Termite Queen
Perhaps you’d like to find the nest yourself.
The chances of finding the queen is slim to none since subterranean termites live underground and can travel up to 400 feet to feed on a home.
In Arizona we know that there can be up to 20 colonies of subterranean termites per acre depending on what part of the valley your home is located. Once a subterranean termite colony starts feeding on your home they will leave a pheromone scent letting the rest of the colony know they have found a food source.
Once a colony has been eliminated its just a matter of time before another colony picks up the pheromone scent and starts heading toward your home. Budget Brothers Termite & Pest offers lifetime renewable warranties on all our termite treatments so if you have 1 or 20 colonies we will take care of them all.
Think you might have a termite colony living near your home? Don’t take chances. Call Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination to handle your termite issues and kill the queen!