Everything About Baby Termites And How To Eradicate Them

August 18, 2021

Dealing with a termite infestation is a nightmare for many homeowners. Termites can cause massive property damage, all the while going undetected. Therefore, if you live in a termite-infested area, always be on the lookout for warning signs like mud tubes, discarded wings, and blisters on wooden surfaces. After all, to spot and stop these destructive insects, you need to know how to recognise their presence. Most people are familiar with adult termites but may not have a clue about the appearance of a termite baby. Since you can easily identify an adult termite, let us focus on baby termites, which is necessary because they are part and parcel of termite infestation.

What Do Termite Babies Look Like?

Baby termites look almost similar to adults. The only significant difference is that they are paler in colour and smaller in size, resembling tiny ants. They feature straight antennae and a thick waist. You will easily recognise them with their whitish pigment. As termite babies develop, they get darker and larger. Seeing these tiny termites on your property signals a termite infestation.

Baby Termites

How Do Baby Termites Develop?

The lifecycle of termites is different from that of other insects. Most insects have an egg-pupa-larvae-adult lifecycle. Termites do not go through this pattern. A baby termite comes to life with the hatching of an egg. The queen termite, whose sole role is producing eggs, mates with the king and gets fertilised. After fertilisation, the queen looks for a nest to lay eggs.

Egg production starts slowly and increases rapidly with time. A queen can lay eggs for around seven to ten years. After some time, secondary queens come into existence and begin laying eggs too. That is why termite colonies grow in size so fast. For instance, a colony of a thousand termites can grow three hundred times more within five years.

Laid eggs usually hatch into termite nymphs. Nymphs are white tiny termites. It is hard to find termite eggs as they are well concealed and guarded. Termites protect their eggs in the nest by huddling them together. The eggs have a yellow to white colour. Once hatched, a termite baby moves to a nursery chamber where it is fed and groomed.

Baby Termites Moulting

The young one of a termite moults by shedding its exoskeleton several times on its way to adulthood. When still young, all termites look similar and have no responsibility in their specific castes. Once a colony has been established, termites are differentiated as soldiers, workers, or alates. Most termite nymphs mature into alates or swarmers, with their primary role being reproducing and creating new colonies. You can distinguish alates from the others as they are winged. Those that fail to develop wings become soldiers or workers. Soldier termites are tasked with defending the entire colony, while worker termites are responsible for searching for food and building and maintaining nests and mud tunnels.

How Long Does It Take For Baby Termites To Become Adults?

It takes several months for a termite nymph to grow fully. The growth period is determined by several factors like temperature, food availability, and their numbers in the colony. With fewer young ones, growing up becomes easier and faster because of less competition for resources.

Are Termite Babies Harmful?

Baby termites are not as dangerous as the adults. They cannot cause structural damage to your property, but they can easily do that when they mature, and they grow really fast. Note that young termites still have to eat, and they get fed by worker termites. Therefore, a termite baby is destructive to an extent.

How To Get Rid Of Baby Termites

Eliminating termites in their baby phase rather than waiting till they mature is the most effective way of dealing with a termite infestation. And here is how to do so:

1. Apply Nematodes

Nematodes are roundworms that kill termites. The worms have gut bacteria, making them an excellent natural insecticide. When a nematode enters a baby termite’s body, it poisons the host’s blood, killing it. Nematodes are readily available in gardening stores and safe for plants, pets, and humans. Once released, nematodes breed and continue to grow in number, keeping termites at bay. Expect positive results within three days of application.

Though there are multiple ways of using beneficial nematodes, the easiest method involves mixing the nematodes in water and spraying the mixture on termite-infested areas once a day using a spray bottle. The water seeps into the wood, spreading the nematodes right where the termites are. Before using nematodes, check if they are explicitly made for termite control as there are different types of nematodes.

2. DIY Methods

Once you exterminate the adults, you will have gotten rid of termite babies as well. For simple do-it-yourself termite control, use homemade repellents such as vinegar and orange oil. An even better approach is using store-bought options, including boric acid, perimeter barriers, and diatomaceous earth.

3. Call Professionals

Pest control companies effectively manage young termites on properties. They detect, eliminate and prevent termite infestations using tested and proved procedures and products. Their vast experience gives them an edge over do-it-yourselfers in combating nasty creatures like termites.

Final Thoughts

As much as baby termites may not wreak havoc, you should not allow them in your home. Understanding the early signs of a termite infestation is critical in keeping your property free of termites. Therefore, performing regular inspections is crucial to identify an infestation early on before it becomes widespread later on. Working with a proficient pest control company is always the surest way to safeguard your property from termite babies.

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