Understanding the Social Behavior of Termites

As professionals working in the pest management industry, it is our job to know everything there possibly is to know about the critters that could potentially be infesting our customers’ homes. We understand that the only thing you are likely concerned about when it comes to the pests is how to keep them out of your home. On the other hand, knowing more about how certain bugs behave can actually help you in a couple of ways. Not only will it allow for you to know where to locate these pests more accurately, but you can also fully understand the urgency that comes with discovering your home is actually infested when you know about things like at what rate they procreate, how often they eat, and more. In this post, we are going to inform you about the social behavior of termites so that you can be prepared should you ever suspect that they are attempting to take over your home. Continue reading below to learn more.

How The Caste System Works

Like many living things, termites have a caste system. The termite society is one that takes every role very seriously. When a termite’s life begins, it starts as a larva. Then it grows into a nymph. The interesting part is that they all begin to take on a certain class once they have molted several times. Termites can have a number of different jobs. From workers to soldiers to part of the reproductive class, everyone has a role to play. It is, however, only members of the reproductive class that become the king or the queen. These are also the only termites that can become fully mature while other members of the caste, like the soldiers and workers, maintain the larvae-like appearance. There is the ability for termites to jump classes depending on the needs of their individual colony in some instances. In fact, members of the reproductive class can even regress and become part of the less mature class as well.

Food & Feeding

As you would probably guess, the worker termites are responsible for foraging in order to find the food for the colony. This includes feeding every member of the caste system, even the soldiers, and the larvae. These termites will search far and wide in order to find the food needed to feed every member of their colony. It is not uncommon actually for termites to cover more than 300 feet when they are looking for food.

Worker termites have this job because they are the only ones that have the proteins that are needed in order to digest cellulose. This means that they partially eat and digest the food before it is distributed to other members of the colony. Soldier termites, on the other hand, are unable to feed themselves because they have extra large jaw bones. This means they have to be fed. Workers will, therefore, drop the food that has already been partially digested into the mouth of the soldiers, as well as the larvae, like a mother bird would do for her babies.

Termite Protection


The worker termites are also responsible for building the nest that houses their entire colony. It’s safe to say that these are the busiest of the termites without a doubt. Nests are created by gluing dirt and other materials together in order to create a sort of tube or wall system in which the termites will live.

While worker termites are able to leave the nest while they are foraging, most of the time they prefer not to. Instead, they will create a series of tunnels that they can use in order to travel as the open air can easily cause them to dry out and die.

The Importance of Defending The Nest

As you probably already concluded, the soldiers are the ones that are responsible for making sure nothing happens to the nest. Not only do they do this to maintain the home of the rest of the termites but it is their main mission to ensure that the king, queen, and the eggs are not harmed in any way. Their oversized mandibles exist so that they are able to inject poisons into any pests that attack the nest.

There are varying numbers of soldiers in each colony based on the overall size. The colony as a whole will work towards establishing itself at first, meaning all of their resources will be used for that. However, as the colony grows and ages, more termites will become soldiers so that it can effectively be protected.


Termites are constantly communicating with one another while they are in the nest. This is done through a number of vibrations and pheromones. Termites can easily recognize the members of their own nest because of these certain pheromones and smells. They can also easily identify which caste a termite is in using this criterion.

The vibrations, on the other hand, are caused by termites banging their heads. These movements help to inform termites when there are holes that have to be repaired in their nest, as well as when there is an invader threatening the nest. If you have a termite problem, you may even be able to hear the vibrations in your walls without using any tools. For an infestation that is just starting, you may have to use a stethoscope to hear the noise.


As the name suggests, the reproductive class is, of course, responsible for all the mating that takes place in the colony. When the termites are ready to mate, they grow wings and molt so that their exoskeleton becomes harder. They then will exit the nest through a small hole and begin swarming until they find a mate.

When the mating is finished, the termites will land, shed their wings, and begin searching for a place to start a new colony. Most often, it is the swarming that we mentioned in the previous paragraph that alerts homeowners that they are not alone in their home.

Do You Have A Termite Infestation?

If you have heard noises or you begin to notice that there are the remains of termites in your home, it’s time to consult the experts at Earthwise Pest Management. There is absolutely no reason for your Sacramento home to become damaged because of a termite infestation when we can help to eliminate it. Contact us today and allow us to make your house termite-free in no time. Our team of pest control experts care about you and will never let you down when it comes to making your home a safer place for you to reside.

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