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What Is A Termite Queen?
By Frank Reece

If you've got termites, or you're worried you might have them, learning about these insects can help you deal with them. Termites are colony insects, like bees and ants, and like these other insects, they have specialized colony members that are responsible for keeping things in order. In a termite colony, the termite queen is one of the most important parts of the social structure, as well as being responsible for reproduction.

Any female termite which has made a mating flights, mated, and begun producing eggs is referred to as a termite queen. Likewise, males termites that have flown and mated, and which remain around the queen are called termite kings. However, these terms can be misleading. There's not just one "royal couple" in a termite colony. Unlike bees, which have only one queen, termites often have multiple queens, and can have multiple kings.

One queen will probably be the primary, however. A termite queen which is mature has an incredible ability to lay eggs, and develops a distended abdomen and extra ovaries that increase this ability. Some termite queens have been said to produce more than two thousand eggs every day. The queen's large size, compared to the other termites, keeps her from moving around freely, so she's attended by worker termites. Pheromones from the queen are an important part of integrating the colony, and are spread via shared feeding.

While it might seem like the best way to stop a termite colony is to get rid of the queen, finding her can be hard, and supplemental queens can replace her if she dies. That means that just trying to kill this termite isn't an effective method of control. However, a queen that survives with a few workers to help her can repopulate a termite colony. Since it's hard to eradicate a colony entirely, keeping termites out of your home can be very difficult.

The most popular methods of termite control involve barrier methods that termites won't cross. Using the right substances and techniques to block their path will cause termites to go looking elsewhere for food. Some barrier methods are merely physical. Other, newer solutions involve toxins that termites will try to walk around, rather than cross. Either can be effective in preventing termites from gathering food and taking it back to the queen. If you can keep termites away from the home, their ability to expand the colony is greatly reduced.

If you suffer from these pests or are afraid you might, learning all you can about them is an important part of control. Termites can't be poisoned in the same way that ants and roaches can, since it's hard to poison the entire colony. Learn what you can about how termites function, and you'll have an easier time avoiding an infestation.

Frank Reece has been in the industry for 25 years. You can find his articles on www.linkmyarticles.com.

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