The Life Cycle Of Termites & What It Means For Your Hattiesburg Home

Serving Families Throughout Hattiesburg
a large termite infestation in a Hattiesburg home

Termites are small, wood-destroying pests that create problems for many Hattiesburg homeowners. As with most problems, the first step to finding a solution is understanding the issue you are up against. Learning how to identify termites and knowing about their life cycle can help you when it comes to preventing them from damaging your property. 

The Termite Caste System

After a queen termite lays eggs, it can take a few weeks to a month for the eggs to hatch. Once the eggs hatch into larvae, they are fed and taken care of by the worker termites until they eventually molt into nymphs. Larvae molt several times to reach maturity, which is usually about 3 or 4 molts. Nymphs can become one of three castes: workers, soldiers, or reproductives. About 90%-95% of all termite nymphs become worker termites, which are at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Soldier termites are one step above the workers, and reproductives are at the highest point of the social order. Termites rely on this caste system to properly maintain and grow their colonies.
The development from nymphs to adults can take months, depending on social, environmental, and pheromonal elements. Pheromones within the colony regulate how many nymphs become workers, soldiers, or reproductives. These pheromones ensure that only a very small number of nymphs become reproductive queens. Worker termites are the largest caste system, which is why they are responsible for foraging for food, feeding the colony, building and maintaining nests, tunneling, and tending to the queen. Soldier termites defend the colony from threats such as predators, insects, or other unfamiliar termites. Soldiers are larger than workers and have dark brown heads and mandibles.

What causes termite infestations?

Termite infestations rarely begin out of nowhere. When a termite infestation initially occurs in your Hattiesburg home, there’s a good chance that an existing termite colony resides somewhere in your neighborhood or on your property. When a termite colony matures, it produces reproductive alates, or secondary reproductives, which leave the colony in a process called nuptial flight to mate and start their own satellite colonies. These alates become the queens and kings of separate colonies. This is why many cases of termite infestations involve multiple colonies. Termite swarmers are dark brown in color, have large white wings, and are most common in spring and early summer.

Are Termites Dangerous?

When it comes to your physical well being, termites are not dangerous. These small insects don’t bite, sting, or spread any diseases. Instead, the dangers termite cause is to your Hattiesburg home. Termites are silent invaders, which means they can infest your home and damage your property for several years without your knowledge. If termites have infested your property, you may begin noticing signs of damage such as:

  • Bowing or spongy flooring
  • Warped walls
  • Cracks in your ceiling
  • Sticking windows and doors
  • Small spots of what looks like water damage

Other signs that termites have invaded your property include mud tubes, shed wings, and damaged wood around the exterior of your home. Contact the professionals here at Havard Pest Control at the first sign of termite damage. Termite infestations are capable of inflicting serious damage to your Hattiesburg home in a short period of time, which is why early intervention is crucial. Give the pest technicians here at Havard a call today to find out how our termite control and prevention services can benefit your home.