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Larvae are the immature form of insects that undergoes metamorphosis to reach their adult stage.
Like other pests, termites go through three main stages during their life cycle-egg, nymph, and adult. The larvae stage is the second stage and usually lasts for several months up to two years. This article will discuss everything you need to know about termite larvae, including their appearance and role in a termite colony.
What is Termite Larvae?
Larvae are newly hatched termites. Termite eggs can hatch into larvae between 26-30 days under normal conditions. During the larvae stage, termites undergo a series of molts to grow. They shed their exoskeleton (outer shell) several times as they mature. As they shed their skin, they will also grow in size.
Once the larvae reach the next stage, which is the nymph stage, nymphs will become either alates or soldiers, depending on their caste. Alates eventually become termite kings and queens, while soldiers become the colony’s protectors.
What Do Termite Larvae Look Like?
Termite larvae are small, only about the size of termite eggs ranging from 2.5 mm long or less than 1/10 inch. They are similar to a smaller version of workers, but instead of having a hard shell body, they have a soft and translucent body. They have a segmented, distinctive head with straight antennae and six legs. They are blind because they don’t have eyes.
What Do Termite Larvae Eat?
Termite larvae eat wood, leaves, and other plant materials that contain cellulose. Their diet is similar to that of workers; however, workers need to break down their food since they cannot digest cellulose on their own.
Termite Larvae Vs. Maggot
Termite larvae look like maggots, larvae of the common fly. They both have soft, white bodies and no outer shells, but the difference between them becomes clear when you take a closer look at their features. For example, termite larvae have six legs, while maggots have no legs. Aside from that, maggots are almost invisible due to their tiny head hidden within their thorax, while you can easily recognize termite larvae due to their segmented head.
Although termite larvae and maggots look similar, mature termites and flies are entirely different.
Where Can Termite Larvae Be Found?
Termite larvae are usually small and complex to see with the naked eye, but when together, you can make out their shape. The workers of termites protect and keep them in a secure place, usually in wooden stuff. Most of the time, they prefer damp wood to have moisture.
Damage Caused by Termite Larvae
Termite larvae are not capable of causing damage to your property on their own, but when they mature into adults, they can be very destructive. Termite larvae need to eat cellulose to survive, and since cellulose is one of the compositions of wood, wood is one of their favorite food sources. Therefore, when termite larvae mature into adults, they will continue to eat wood, which can cause severe damage to your home or building.
Signs of Termite Infestation
Termites are small, but they can cause big problems. If you think you might have a termite infestation, there are a few signs to look for:
Termite damage can be costly and time-consuming to repair, so it is essential to take steps to prevent them from infesting your home in the first place. However, there are a few things you can do to deter termites:
If you take these steps, you can help deter termites from infesting your home. However, the best way to protect your home from termites is to have it regularly inspected by a pest control professional.