Baby Termites

Termite nymphs, or young termites, are sometimes called “baby termites.” These are termites which have been hatched from the nest’s eggs, but they do not yet have a final function within the colony. Baby termites can sometimes be confused with psocids or booklice as they are both generally white and small. Psocids, though, have different characteristics even though they might frequent termite-prone areas such as in or near moist wood.

termite larvae picture
Baby termites (or larve)

Baby termites, also called “immatures” or “larvae,” can become reproductives, soldiers, or workers. After the immature stage, the baby termite will become a nymph or intermediate step prior to becoming a reproductive. If the baby termite is destined to become a worker or soldier, that is the next step and there is no intermediate stage as is the case if the baby termite is destined to become a reproductive.

Baby termites in subterranean termite species start relatively small as they emerge from eggs. They resemble small worker termites. Later, the termite can become a mature worker, soldier or reproductive without indication early as to which caste it will become. There is some suspected mechanism based upon colony needs as to which caste it will become.

While the primary reproductive or queen of the colony remains, the secondary reproductive termites can be created in some species from former “baby termites.” These help provide the necessary eggs needed for the colony to thrive. They also will take over reproduction should the primary reproductive or queen die or no longer lays eggs.

Baby termites are fascinating to watch as they assimilate into a termite colony and the change to the caste is a remarkable feat of nature. Some believe that if there is way to control the baby termite, the control of the colony would follow.

See also Termite Larvae