A few weeks back Jody Millard Pest Control a division of Northwest Exterminating Company visited our office Exit Realty Scenic City in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were far and away the most entertaining lunch & learn we've had! Beyond simply providing lunch & telling us about the services their company provides -- they dressed us up in royal regalia & we learned a lot about the in's & out's of termite sex & how it affects us all & our homes. The pics below show the hilarity. But then, you always learn the most when you're having fun!
An overview? The termite queen can live from 25-50 years. Talk about fertile! She lays an egg approximately every 3 seconds. The king, well...his job is to...provide for the queen & her very extensive needs. He only lives for 2-3 years, but for a guy 'life is good' If a king dies he is simply replaced with one of the kings in waiting. And if the queen dies she releases pheromones so that younger new queens will take over the job. Neither the termite king or queen work, instead the colony they raise brings them their food. Most colonies have only one pair of reproductives, but some colonies have secondary & tertiary assistant queens & kings for egg laying. Subterranean colonies can contain between 60,000-1,000,000 individual termites.
The eggs the queen lays become larva which become nymphs (neither male nor female) which can turn into workers, soldiers, or reproductives called alates. Though usually eggs are produced sexually, the queen also has the ability to produce future termite queens asexually. Termites have the capability of molting both forwards or backwards to fill various roles. Their nuptial flights called swarming happen in springtime after the last winter freeze & when the temperature is in the low to mid 70's. One of the easiest ways to tell if a home is infested is the discovery of alate wings (see pic below) in window sills.
As high as 10% of homes in the American southeastern states suffer from termite infestations. While in natural places termites are beneficial, all that frolicking & munching on wood causes home damage to the tune of 5 billion dollars...more than earthquakes, flood, & fire combined.
According to the people from Jody Millard Pest Control the best way to get rid of the entire colony is to use Sentricon with Always Active made by Dow Chemical. Other reputable pest control companies also use this product It's made of cellulose & other ingredients termites love far more than wood. It basically is a slow working poison the workers termites ingest, take back & share with the unsuspecting king, queen, & entire colony = total termite annihilation! They also recommended the 1 year transferable re-treat & repair warranty as most ideal & said that a termite letter from their company currently costs $45.
Btw, Did you know? Termites are considered highly edible by some cultures. Bon Appetit! That said, being a vegetarian eating termites would be one of the last things on my mind. Anyway may your homes be blessed & termite free.
Last of all a pic of us right to left: Mark the King, Christi the Queen, my dad & I were nymphs, Katherine a soldier, & Paige & Jill were future alates. And the fellow way on the left was from Jody Millard Pest Control.