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The Formation of a Termite Colony

When you hear the word termite, you probably instantly think of damage to a housing structure, and for good reason. Termite damage costs American homeowners $5B each year. That is a B for billion. The average repair cost for a termite infested home is $3300, nothing to sneeze at. 600,000 homes are affected by termites each and every year. With that kind of damage left in their wake, people often wonder how these things get around and how they can do so much damage. The simple answer is easy: They do it with pure numbers.

In late winter/early spring the termites set out to reproduce. The male and female (queen) have wings that allow them to fly for great distances. Once they meet up they start a colony and start reproducing at a mind-numbing rate. A single termite pair can lay over 10M eggs per year. Yep, that is M for million. The young ones need food to grow and that’s where your wood frame houses come into play. A termite eats dead plant based cellulose. In other woods they eat your house.

They burrow through the wood, munching away and cause holes to appear in their path. The damage can get so bad that the house may have to be condemned. If you catch them before they have done too much damage, you can have the termites eliminated and the structure repaired.

You can sometimes see huge termite mounds. Look at these things like a megalopolis is to humans. There are millions upon millions of termites in there and it is loaded with “reproductives”. A termite reproductive is basically sub-queens that churn out millions of eggs per year. These mounds can literally have thousands of queens.

15 Mar

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