- The original king along with the queen tends the young during early life. He fertilises the queen and is usually long lived.
- (Macropterous) Tends the young during the formation of the nest and is identified by retaining wing buds. Her main function is reproduction.
- These queens have been selected to replace the original queen and are not as productive as the original queen. They have no wing buds.
- The future kings and queens of new colonies. The alates fly during humid conditions and can be released in the thousands. The future queen lands and attracts the king by using pheromones. Together they travel in tandem to select a new site for the nest. Not many live as birds, insects and unsuitable nesting sites all take their toll.
- Normally the greatest number of individuals in the colony. Termite workers feed the young and the soldiers, tend the queen and repair the nest.
- The main function is to guard the colony against invaders such as man and other insects. Some species have two types of soldiers. Most defend the colony by using mandibles others such as Nasute by the use of liquids stored in the head and ejected from the fontanelle.
Three main categories
Termites have certain behavioural characteristics that enable pest controllers to classify them mainly on their sites of occurrence and the appearance of their damage. This assists pest controllers in determining what control measures may be required. The three categories are:
- Subterranean termites
- Dampwood termites
- Drywood termites
Differentiation between these categories will help in identifying the termite and aid in the treatment selection. Most termite problems dealt with by pest controllers are Subterranean termites and they cause the most damage and are difficult detect and to deal with.