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There are six distinct castes in a termite colony; the primary reproductives (the queen and the king), the workers, the secondary reproductives, the soldiers, and the swarmers. The following are more detailed descriptions of these castes.
The PRIMARY REPRODUCTIVES are responsible for mating and producing eggs. The king mates with the queen the first year, which produces a core group of workers to supply the new colony with food. As winter nears, the colony moves below the frost line. In the spring, the king mates with the queen a second time, after which his job for the colony is done. The queen's abdomen undergoes an elongation metamorphosis, which prepares the queen to produce eggs at a rate of about 100 per minute for up to 25 years.
The WORKERS are sterile members of the colony whose job is to do all the work in the colony. In the first year, their primary job is to gather food for the fledging colony. The second year and beyond, the also take care of the primary reproductives, the eggs, the larvae, and the other members of the colony.
The SECONDARY REPRODUCTIVES exist in case something happens to the queen. If she dies or the colony is separated, they can step right in a restart the process of producing eggs.
The SOLDIERS exist to protect the colony from being attacked, usually from ants. They have enlarged mandibles in which they can pinch an ant to death. Because of these enlarged mandibles, they are unable to get their own food and must rely on the workers to feed them.
The SWARMERS are future reproductives of a new colony. Once a colony have matured (approximately 3-5 years and a size of about 30,000 or more termites), they produce swarmer termites. They are released from the colony, usually in the spring, by the hundreds or thousands, will land close by where they will immediately lose their wing, they will enter the ground, a male mates with a female, and thus starts a new colony.

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