What are king termites?
Termite is one type of insect with complete metamorphosis and belongs to the order Blattodea. There are many types of termites, and king termites belong to the class Termitoidae, order Isoptera. The mating period is known as “swarming.” The swarmers emerge from the colony in search of new colonies. King termites can fly longer than queen termites, and that is why they will be found far away from their original colony, sometimes as long as 50 kilometers.
King termites live just like other members of their species – working hard building a large nest, laying millions of eggs, rearing young ones by feeding them with bits of chewed wood until they grow up and take over their father’s task.
If the king termite dies, the nest will face a serious crisis since replacing such a large and strong insect with alternative subordinates is difficult. But this is not always the result of death. Sometimes, they leave their colony or abandon them with no intention of returning. Usually, swarming takes place during the daytime, but if there is an exceptional weather condition with perfect wind direction and speed – such as after a strong storm – swarmers might fly off at night as well.
King termites can live up to 20 years or more in captivity and about 4-5 years in wild conditions. Without access to water and humidity – king termites usually die within two weeks after leaving their colony.
A king termite is a male, which means it has wings and golden hairs all over its body. A mature male has a white collar around his neck that is very striking.
King termites can be 14 centimeters long from head to abdomen tip. King termites have big eyes with at least 30 facets per eye – this allows them to see each other better during swarming flights. Also, they have excellent hearing organs on the front side of the thorax near the antennae sockets. Their incisors are brown or dark red, and their antennae are broad and flat, ending in a club shape. Their wings also have one lobe larger than another, giving them an X-shaped appearance when viewed from the side under a microscope.
Slowly but surely – king termites are becoming popular as pets. Many people find it very interesting to watch the life of such unusual insects and feed them with wood bits from time to time. These insects die much faster than other species without a water source, so make sure you provide them with a cup of water or something similar.
How do King Termites look like?
Their wings identify King termites. They’re the only ones with wings; they do not share them with the other individual termites. The king has two pairs of wings. These wings are longer than the body to which they attach themselves (the abdomen).
The size difference between a soldier, worker, queen, and king termite is pretty evident if you know what to look for. First off, it’s easy to identify who’s who by looking at their heads. The soldiers’ head contains larger mandibles than any other caste in the colony, while workers’ head contains smaller mandibles than both other castes combined. Soldiers also have large yellow or orange heads with large eyes.
Workers and soldiers also have two different shaped abdomens. The worker’s abdomen is bent at a right angle, whereas the soldier’s abdomen is straight and parallel to the ground. All three castes look very similar, but their reproductive organs help determine who they are individually. Workers do not have wings or developed reproductive systems, which means they cannot reproduce – so all termites with wings and developed reproductive systems are either queens or kings.
The king’s body is also white and long like the queen’s, but it does not get as large. Kings only get about 3/4 of an inch long, whereas the queen gets 6 inches! The reasons for this difference have yet to be explained by scientists.
Male and female soldiers look a lot alike – the only way to tell them apart is by their mandibles. Males have large, long, curved mandibles, which they use for fighting other termites of other colonies during breeding season – this doesn’t happen very often as drywood termites are not very aggressive. The king’s head contains larger mandibles than any other caste in the colony.
The subtropical climate throughout Florida can lead to subterranean colonies being much more populous than those found in temperate climates. Drywood termite nests have been known to be filled with their fecal pellets, which helps keep them warm and provides food when it comes time for the newly born young to find sustenance on their own.
Subterranean termites live in a maze of tunnels and chambers and can be found over large stretches of land, while drywood termites only form colonies within the wood, so they usually stay close to where they’ve entered the structure. This is why drywood termite infestations are much easier to spot than subterranean termite infestations (and should be dealt with sooner rather than later).
How to get rid of King Termites?
The most effective way to get rid of termites is by using Borax (sodium tetraborate) mixed with sugar. Termites love the sweetness of the sugar and eat it eagerly, but it’s typically their undoing since borax is poisonous to them.
A safer method that does not involve killing the insects is finding where they enter your house and plug up all entrances. However, if they’re already in your walls or elsewhere, you’ll want to use Borax mixed with sugar. This will attract the termite-eating creatures in your area, who are also likely the king termites’ natural enemies.
The mix can be made very simply by adding about a tablespoon of borax powder for each cup of sugar. Ideally, place the mixture in an empty margarine container or other disposable containers with a good lid so that it doesn’t attract ants and is easily disposable afterward.
Do this around your house on the outside to act as a barrier against termites looking for wood to eat. It is also effective if you put some near their entry points into your house. This will not be 100% effective but should substantially lessen the number of termite visitors while also feeding helpful insects.
Another way of getting rid of them is by catching them alive, placing them in cups with some borax powder, and then leaving them out in the sun until they’ve died.
You can also get an insecticide containing ” Boric Acid. ” It’s relatively safe, but only if you stay away from getting it on yourself and dress appropriately. If you need to use it outside, do not use a spray that will get into the air since it can be harmful or even fatal if inhaled.
Mixing borax with sugar effectively kills termites because both substances are attractive to these insects. Pouring some in the walls where they’re known to enter helps combat them by cutting off their access points.
Using a Borax mixture as a barrier around your house and placing traps near their entrances slows down the number of new termite arrivals since they rely on each other’s work inside.