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Termite Worker Caste

Soldier termites and worker termites, Reticulitermes sp. Photo by Turney.Workers are by far the most abundant caste in termite colonies.  The worker caste can appear very similar to an ant with the naked eye but upon close inspection can be distinguished as they are generally soft-bodied, and have a creamy-white appearance.  Workers are blind, wingless, and can be male or female. Depending on the species workers tend to 3/8’’ to 5/8’’in size.

As you can probably guess from the name workers are responsible for most of the labor in termite colonies.  Their workload varies from caring for the eggs and obtaining food for the immatures, soldiers, reproductives, and other workers to hard physical labor such as constructing tunnels, excavating galleries, and repairing the nest system when damaged and, grooming and assisting nestmates during molting; and even aiding the soldiers in defending the colony if necessary.

If your home has been invaded by termites, all of the property damaged you suffered can be laid squarely on the heads of the working caste.  Despite a termite worker’s soft body, its mouth is made for devastation.  A worker’s mouthparts are hardened, powerful, and adapted for chewing through remarkably hard items such as the frame of your house.

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