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What Happens When a Termite Queen Dies?

If you have a termite infestation, you may be looking for the easiest way to get rid of it. If you find the queen, you can target her, and the entire colony will be affected.

Here’s what happens when the queen termite dies.

The colony of termites cannot survive without a queen. All the eggs and colony members will likely die if the queen dies, leaving no insects to lay eggs and control the population. Therefore, killing the queen is the best way to eliminate a termite colony.

How Can You Tell if a Termite is a Queen?

Close-up photo of termite queen and termites.

Most colonies are created by termite queens living in a dome-shaped structure made from dirt and other materials like wood or paper. 

Most queen termites never leave their nests. However, as a result of being swollen with eggs, she has a hard time moving around. 

There is a wide range of colors available for subterranean termite queens, ranging from pale yellow-brown to black. 

Queen termites may appear more significant because their abdomens are filled with eggs. Her main objective is to lay as many eggs as possible.  

King and queen sizes are the same during the swarming stage. Then, following the shedding of their wings, the queen slowly grows in size. 

If the queen termite dies without another queen to take over, the colony will begin to dwindle and eventually die out.

What is the Role of a Termite Queen?

In a colony, termites are produced by the queen. The sole purpose of their reproduction is to ensure the survival of the group. 

The worker termites lay walls to protect the nest area, search for food, and care for young nymphs within a colony. A swarmer is a nymph that develops wings to fly and find a mate. 

A nest of these termites is often found near the main colony since they are the only ones that can reproduce. A new colony will begin to grow once the swarmers have successfully mated.

How Long do Termite Queens Live?

Close-up photo of termite queen and termites.

Termites have an astonishing lifespan of up to 50 years, but on average, they live about 20 years. 

It takes a queen termite about ten years to lay a maximum number of eggs during her 50-year life span. 

Worker termites hatch from the eggs laid by queens and maintain the colony. A new queen termite will gradually replace the dead queen termite as her pheromone wears off after she dies.

What is the Best Way to Kill a Queen Termite?

New methods for termite control, such as using ants, still have difficulty killing the queen. The majority of the time, soldier wood ants guard the reproductive part of the colony. 

The queen termite may never enter a trap, even if you successfully set one. Therefore, it is best to poison the queen if you want to kill her. 

Food is brought to her by the colony members who taste it before allowing her to eat it. Food poisoned for termites will kill the queen if brought to her. A worker would probably die from this food if he tried it first. Killing the queen is difficult because of this behavior. 

How does a Termite Become Queen?

Photo of termites and the queen termite.

A termite can become a queen if the current queen determines that the colony needs to spread and grow. 

If the current queen dies, the colony will also choose a new queen based on pheromones released by both the current and new queen. The nest cannot survive without a queen, so there is never a time when a queen is not active. 

In those places where wood, water, and other necessities are abundant, termite couples settle together after the swarm breaks up. 

The queen will then start her colony by laying eggs to create workers and soldiers to cater to her and the colony’s needs. 

Queens can lay eggs capable of becoming queens instead of workers or soldiers. As a result, they live in the colony with the termite queen, and when she dies, they replace her. 

The colony can continue to live on as soon as they replace the queen, which will continue to grow. This means the colony never goes without a queen and will survive many years.

Do Any Other Female Termites Lay Eggs in a Colony?

By emitting pheromones associated with their presence, queen termites suppress the growth of other queens. 

It may be necessary to allow supplemental or secondary queens to develop as the colony grows. Colonies will be able to grow as long as there are enough eggs available.

As the nymphs, babies, mature into alates, winged adult termites, the queen may decide to allow many of them to swarm out of the nest, hoping to reproduce and start a new colony. 

Hundreds will swarm the nest to thousands of termites, but most will fail to find mates and start new colonies. 

When the workers swarm, they pair up, and the newly-formed termite queen searches for a place to nest. 

For the new termite queen and king to survive, the new nest site must provide near-perfect conditions. Fortunately, properly maintained homes are unlikely to experience this problem. 

If you notice termites swarming outside your home, it could mean a new colony is about to form, which implies termite damage could occur to your home.


If you notice termites in your home, it can be helpful to find the nest and the queen so that you can eliminate the colony more easily. 

The queen can live for many years and lay thousands of eggs during her life. 

This means termite colonies can grow very large. However, there are ways to prevent termites and remove them.