Termites are insects that are considered social, meaning they live in large groups, and are responsible for certain tasks that are designed to help the group thrive. Communication in these social structures, or colonies, is critical to the division of labor and survival. Termites have a variety of ways to communicate. One very important way is through the use of scent.
Termite colonies each have a distinct odor, or pheromone, that is produced by the termites in the colony. This odor is unlike any other colony's odor, and is used by the termites to communicate and cooperate with each other. Intruders can easily be distinguished by their lack of odor. This will trigger a warning pheromone, which the soldiers in the colony will respond to. Soldiers will attack the intruder and then wall it up inside the colony.
Pheromones are also critical for termites in the search for food sources. When a worker termite is foraging for food, it will travel long distances. If a food source is found, the worker will lay down a pheromone trail to alert the other workers to the food source. This will enable them to travel the same path to locate the food. As those workers travel, they, too, lay down a pheromone path, which makes the path very strong and easy to follow. As the source depletes, the pheromones become weak, and the termites will desert the trail.
Termite odors will enable colonies to find food sources that are often a great distance away from the nest. Sometimes, pheromone baits are used to lure termites to an area where they can be destroyed. For the most effective termite control, contact a pest control expert. They can help you assess the best methods for your termite problems.