Skip to content

What is the Life Cycle of a Termite?

Termites have a unique life cycle and undergo three main developmental stages, unlike ants which have four. From larvae, termites will molt several times before maturing into its designated caste.

Most termites develop through the following stages:

  1. The reproductive male and female will mate and become king and queen.
  2. The queen termite lays the eggs she has been producing.
  3. Larvae will hatch from eggs and become nymphs.
  4. Nymphs will continuously molt up to three times before reaching maturity.
  5. When mature, the termite will be assigned a caste, or a specific needed role within the colony.
Termite life cycle

Life Stages of Termites

The life cycle of a termite begins when the reproductive caste, also known as alates or swarmers, swarm to form new colonies. After mating, reproductives will drop their wings and the new king and queen hollow out a small chamber in the soil underground, where the queen will lay her eggs. The queen termite can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a day. Her eggs hatch into larvae and the young nymph termites will molt three times before being assigned as a reproductive, worker, or soldier.

How Long do Termites Live?

Depending on their caste or role in the colony, termites have differing life expectancy rates. On average, termites live for the following amounts of time:

  • Soldier and worker termites live for one to two years. 
  • Reproductive termites, also known as alates or swarmers, can live up to 4 years.
  • Queens have the longest life expectancy out of all castes and have been known to survive for twenty years or more under optimal conditions.

Termite Caste Stages

Experts have yet to determine exactly how a termite is designated into one caste or another. Research has found that it is likely determined by social and environmental cues based on the needs of the colony. Additional research suggests that the specific caste of each termite can change, depending on the needs of the colony. Some termites may switch castes entirely at some point during their life cycle.

If you have termites on your property, contact your local termite exterminators right away!

What is the life cycle of a termite? in Sevierville TN

Serving Sevier County and surrounding areas since 1984

Sevierville | Loudon | Knoxville | Jefferson City | Morristown

Newport | Maryville | Pigeon Forge | Gatlinburg