We know for a fact that termite colonies are essentially ruled by termite queens. But, does the queen have a king to help her? Is there a termite king? Well, this article will clear your doubts regarding the social hierarchy in a termite colony. And you will also learn about termite kings! So, keep reading!
Is there a termite king? If there is, what do you need to know about termite kings?
There is a termite king in every colony. The queen and the king are the only two termites in the colony with eyes. The king’s job is to mate with the queen and produce eggs. He also helps to regulate the temperature of the nest.
The termite king is the most important member of a termite colony after the termite queen. His primary responsibility is to reproduce and ensure the continuity of the colony.
Termites are eusocial insects, which means that they live in colonies with a complex social hierarchy. The termite king is at the top of this hierarchy and is responsible for ensuring the survival of his colony.
Additionally, the color of a termite king and other termites in a colony can vary depending on their age and reproductive status. For example, young kings are typically black or dark brown in color, while older kings may be white or cream-colored.
What are the roles of a termite king?
Termite kings are a very important part of their colonies. They have many different roles, including reproduction and swarming. After developing wings, termites signal the commencement of a new colony.
The king termite is the most important member of the colony and has several critical roles, such as regulating the population size, ensuring food is available and overseeing the queen’s reproductive efforts.
I have tried to highlight the essential roles of a termite king in a termite colony below.
Termite kings establish termite colonies.
The king termite is an important part of the termite colony. He helps to establish and maintain the nest, especially during the initial years, while the queen produces workers and soldiers. As time goes on, the king’s role begins to diminish, and he becomes a guardian of the nest.
Interestingly, termite kings do not engage in any of the tasks typically associated with their role.
The workers and soldiers distribute all of the caretaking and housekeeping responsibilities among the other termites in the colony. This leaves the king free to mate and establish new colonies.
Termite kings release pheromones to maintain the termite colony’s balance.
The king termite is the only termite in the colony that can release pheromones, along with the queen.
They release a chemical hormone called pheromones to maintain the social balance of the colony. This hormone helps to keep all of the termites in line and prevents them from challenging the king’s authority.
The king termites and queen termites work together to maintain balance within the colony. They release pheromones to control the population of soldiers and reproductives and to keep the nest healthy.
Termite kings keep their colonies alive.
The queen is the only member of the colony who can lay eggs, and she needs sperm from a male that is powerful enough to do so. The king is the only male termite in the colony, and he provides sperm to the queen for egg fertilization.
If there is no king, the colony will not be functional and ultimately end since the queen cannot reproduce alone.
How do termites develop into king termites?
Termites develop into king termites through swarmers. Swarmers are the potential queens and kings of new colonies. They are produced when the colony reaches a certain size and when the conditions are right.
Interestingly, a single termite colony can produce many swarmers that stay in the colony until the right time comes to leave. Swarmers are not the best flyers, and some break their wings as they struggle to fly. Once they find a mate, they will start a new colony.
Males only become termite kings after mating with a female swarmer. The king then takes on the role of reproducing and ensuring the survival of the colony.
He does this by eating food that is high in protein, such as meat or insects, and passing it along to the other termites in the colony.
Is the termite king harmful to human beings?
While the termite king is not harmful to human beings, their presence indirectly contributes to the production of other harmful termites. This means that the termite king cannot be considered harmless, and their impact should not be underestimated.
Do termite kings have wings, and can they fly?
Termites, much like other flying insects, undergo a process in which they develop wings and can fly. This ability is necessary for them to start new colonies. Termites with wings are called alates.
But, once termites become kings, they no longer have wings and cannot fly. They are the only termites in the colony that can reproduce. The king and queen termites are primarily tasked with creating new colonies and ensuring the survival of their species.
How big is the termite king in size?
The size of a king termite can vary depending on the stage they are in their life cycle. In general, they are larger than other termites in their colony. They can grow up to 1/2 inch long and have a wingspan of up to 3/4 inches.
That said, swarmer termites, when they have wings, measure roughly half an inch in length. It is these swarmer termites that grow a little larger after they lose their wings and start their own colonies as termite kings.
Interestingly, the king termite is the largest out of all the termites and can grow up to be around three-eighths of an inch long. He is responsible for ruling over the colony and producing offspring.
Why do termite kings release pheromones into their colonies?
Termite kings release pheromones to help regulate the activities and behavior of their colonies. This prevents chaos and helps maintain order within the colony. The pheromones also help to keep the termites working together for the good of the colony.
Termite kings also release pheromones into their colonies in order to maintain reproductive dominance. The chemical hormone will suppress the development of ovaries in other termites, preventing them from becoming reproductive members of the colony.
What is the life span of a termite king?
The life span of a termite king can vary from one species to the other. In some cases, the king termite can live up to fifteen years, while in others, they may only live for a few months. The main role of the king termite is essentially to mate and produce offspring.
Their long life span is due to their role in the colony. As long as the queen is alive and healthy, the king will continue to mate with her and produce offspring.
Interestingly, the termite king has a considerably shorter lifespan than the queen. During their lifetime, they mate with the queen and help her in reproduction.
Where are you most likely to find or spot a termite king?
Termites are common pests found all over the world. While they can thrive in a variety of environments, there are some areas where you are more likely to find them. Such features offer sufficient food and nesting places for termites.
Termites also like inhabiting older structures with deteriorating timber. Rotting timber has the ideal moisture levels for termites to thrive. The perfect termite habitat is also warm.
But interestingly, the king termite is always hidden underground together with the queen. You are most likely to find him when checking out a termite colony.
There is a termite king that sits on the throne of a termite colony along with the termite queen. The role of a termite king is very simple – he must keep reproducing with the termite queen to ensure the longevity of his colony. That said, you are highly unlikely to ever see a termite king unless you get to the root of a termite infestation!