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All these are the sensual forms of the colony including prospective kings and queens of colonies not yet been established.
The reproductives reside in a central room in the nest in which a femalequeen or queen, will lay many thousands of eggs every year over her entire life span of approximately 10 years. Man, or kings, are responsible for fertilising the queens. Multiple reproductives are commonly observed.
The young termites grow in the colony by shedding cuticles at the end of every growth stage, gradually changing until they get to the employee, soldier or adult (winged form). If queens die, some supplementary reproductives may carry on the colony as neotenics.
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Reproductives are generally darker than employees and soldiers. They have functional eyes and their stronger skin (cuticle) is able to resist the outside environment. After flight, unlike other insects, the deciduous wings of termites are discarded and piles of shed wings are a good hint to termite infestations.
Officials have darker, bigger heads than the other castes. They're blind, wingless, and have undeveloped reproductive organs.
Soldiers are more demanding than the other castes and take longer to die from most toxins, exposure, or starvation. It is their function to defend the colony, if disturbed, while the damage is fixed by the employees.
Soldiers exist in different forms. Many species have soldiers, with well-developed jaws (mandibles) utilized to crush attackers, such as ants.
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Nastute soldiers occur in Nasustitermes species and therefore are only infrequently found as pests in Victoria. They have a snout where they eject a sticky solution which irritates and glues attackers.
Phragmotic soldiers have a very large head, which can be wedged in tunnels to prevent attackers. The drywood termites, which use this strategy, are only occasional introductions to Victoria.
The employees account for the largest number of termites within the colony, and are therefore responsible for the most harm.
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They collect food, groom other termites, construct tunnels and fix damage in addition to tending to the kings, queens and their young. These termites are believed to work 24 hours a day during their 4-year life span. Worker termites are generally unpigmented. They are blind, wingless and have undeveloped reproductive organs. .
Termites hatch from eggs which have been tended by their nest mates in specially constructed nurseries.
As soon as they're old enough, the young work within the colony in which jobs change with age and adulthood.
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Once a single colony gets sufficiently large it produces winged reproductives which wait in specially constructed chambers until prepared to depart the nest and undertake a colonising flight.
They leave the nest as a swarm under conditions of high humidity, still air, and sometimes low light. Termites are not strong fliers and generally only fly around 1km, but breezes and updrafts can take them much farther.
Upon landing near a suitable nest site, the female sheds her wings and emits a calling scent. Men quickly respond.
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They dig in and over the next few weeks, mate and take care of their young until enough workers grow to take over the care roles.
New colonies are occasionally created via budding. This is believed to occur when the extremities of this colony eliminate contact and become independent.
The main king and queen are thought to emit hormones, which suppress the sexual development of the remainder of the colony. But this control breaks down if the land is too large or contact groups is dropped.
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Termites work collectively in nests or colonies. They hatch from eggs as mammals, which can be fed by adult termites. They then develop into four forms or castes of termite:
Soldiers have big, black heads, are blind, wingless, and have undeveloped reproductive organs. Soldiers are tougher than other castes and might take longer to control. Several species of soldier termites have strong jaws (mandibles) utilized to crush attackers, like ants.
Employees are colourless, blind, wingless and have undeveloped reproductive organs. Workers are the greatest caste within a colony and the original source are, therefore, responsible for maximum damage.
Reproductives that are darker in colour to other castes, have functional eyes and robust skin. This caste becomes the pioneers of prospective colonies.
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The temperature, food grade, and action of the colony will determine how long it takes for a termite to develop from egg to adult.
Nests and tunnels are kept moist because worker termites cannot stand low humidity for long periods of time. The temperature within the nursery of a large nest ranges between 10 C and 35 C but rarely varies more than one level every day. The relative humidity is approximately 100 per cent.