Termites are social insects. These insects live in colonies governed by a caste systems. All three castes differ dramatically in appearance and responsibilities.
Worker termites are the most numerous and most destructive members. They can be found infesting walls or floor joists of a home. They are white in appearance and navigate with their antennae rather than their eyes: worker termites are blind. This caste of termites is responsible for bringing food back to the colony, caring for the other castes and constructing the galleries and tunnels that form the physical colony. Subterranean worker termites use a mixture of mud, saliva and feces to create mud tunnels to and from sources of food.
Soldier termites are pale yellow-brown in color and have enlarged heads and mandibles. The soldier caste’s enlarged jaws prevent them from feeding themselves, and they rely upon workers to assist them in this task. The sole function of the warrior termite caste is to defend the colony from attacks. These warriors will occasionally attack other termite colonies, although the primary threat to any termite colony is ants.
Reproductive termites are an integral piece of the colony’s structure. Young reproductive termites, also referred to as alates, are black and winged. When outdoor humidity and moisture levels are correct, both male and female reproductive termites participate in mating swarms, after which they land and shed their wings. These insects then go on to form new colonies, within which they will be reproductive kings and queens.
Formosan Termite Colony Nest: