Termite Colony Queen and King Recognition Pheromone to Worker Termites in Eagle, ID
Termites are known all over the world. In the United States they are a notorious pest, known for devouring wood in the structures of businesses and homes. They cost billions of dollars a year in repairs. Most know that termites in general require wood in their diet, that they are social insects that live in colonies, and they are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of. There are several types of termites and thousands of species that share similarities and have distinct differences as well. But as science continues to study these little critters, they continue to learn new developments and get new insights. With that in mind, we at Pestcom Pest Management would like to share some new discoveries concerning the identification of the king and queen termites and their pheromones.
Termite Colony Caste System
Before we get into the new; for those that did not know, termites are social insects that live in colonies. There is a king and queen that reproduce, and then there are the soldiers that protect the colony, the workers that forage for food and build the nest, lastly there are swarmers that manifest when the colony is established, these are future reproducers or kings and queens that leave the currently colony to begin a new one.
Heneicosane Termite Recognition Pheromone
For the first time, the researchers at North Carolina State University have identified a specific chemical used by the higher termite castes, or the kings and queens, to communicate their status to the worker termites. Because of these new discoveries, termite evolution, behavior, and control knowledge could advance the understandings. A chemical containing carbon and hydrogen atoms called heneicosane, which is a wax-like hydrocarbon was subjected to vigorous study. As it is found from the subterranean royal termite body’s surface, it acts as recognition for the worker termites, prompting them to identify and care for them. As termites prominently live in the wood or underground, depending on the species, they are all generally blind. As a result, they utilize chemical signals as a form of communication. This discovery reports that it is the first reporting of queen recognition pheromone in termites and the first for a king recognition pheromone in insects in general according the experts. Only heneicosane was found on the royal termites during the research when the use of gas chromatography isolated specific chemicals from the exoskeletons of royal and worker termites.
How Does a Worker Termite Know a King & Queen?
When heneicosane was applied on glass dummies serving as royal termite surrogates, the workers actions that seemed to reflect the termite version of royal recognition was to start shaking; a bow or courtesy in human standards. The workers shook more so when the royal pheromone was blended with other hydrocarbons from the colony’s workers that represent the colony’s odor. The understanding was because the two-step recognition process where they also identify their home and heneicosane within this home, allowing them to know who their royals are. A stable colony among the workers is intensified when the workers know that there is a queen and/or king is present with the royal-recognition pheromone. Additionally, the shaking increased when the workers recognized the king and queen are nest mates. Though termites appeared some 150 million years ago, the social Hymenoptera appeared about 100 million years ago and according to this new discovery the hydrocarbon as a royal-recognition pheromone in termites seemingly predated its use in social insects
Termite Inspection & Treatment
With new information, it provides science to advance ways on removing these insects from your home or business. Pestcom Pest Management is readily available to get the termites removed from your home or business. Call us to schedule a termite inspection today.