Termites live in colonies and are known as social insects. The members of the colony are each responsible for a specific role in the colony structure, which enable the group to function efficiently and thrive.
A termite colony is made up of four types of termites: workers, soldiers, primary reproductives and supplementary reproductives. These groups are called castes. Each caste performs a specific function.
Worker termites are the largest caste of termites in the colony. They are responsible for the feeding of members of the colony, as well as the building of the colony. Workers are among the first eggs laid by the queen when a colony is being developed. Workers will forage for food and create tunnels throughout the soil or food source, bringing back nutrients for the rest of the colony.
Soldiers defend the colony. They are developed for this purpose with large, hard heads and large mandibles. They position themselves at the entrances of the tunnels and protect the colony from invaders. Soldiers are blind, and their large heads prevent them from feeding on their own. The workers care for the soldiers by feeding them.
Primary reproductives are essentially the king and queen of the colony. These termites are equipped with flight capabilities, which enable them to swarm and head out to create new colonies. The wings drop off after they swarm, and the pair will mate to develop a new colony. The queen will lay a number of eggs to establish the colony, and then much of the egg laying will be done by the supplementary reproductives.
Supplementary reproductives are the females and males that remain in the colony to reproduce. These termites will create the majority of the members of the colony and can take over the queen's duties if she dies. If separated from the initial colony, these termites, along with workers, can create their own colony.