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The reproductive caste of a mature colony includes a fertile female and male, known as the queen and king.61 The queen of this colony is responsible for egg production for the colony. Unlike in ants, the king mates with her life.62 In some species, the abdomen of the queen swells up radically to increase fecundity, a characteristic known as physogastrism.61 Depending on the species, the queen starts producing reproductive winged alates at a certain time of year, and huge swarms emerge from the colony when nuptial flight begins.

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A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into workers, but others might further moult to become soldiers alates.

Termites are often compared with all the social Hymenoptera (ants and various species of bees and wasps), but their differing evolutionary origins result in significant differences in life span. In the eusocial Hymenoptera, the workers are entirely female. Males (drones) are haploid and develop from unfertilised eggs, while females (both employees and the queen) are diploid and grow from fertilised eggs.

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Depending on species, male and female workers may have different roles in a termite colony.63.

The entire life cycle of a termite begins with an egg, but is different from that of a bee or ant in that it goes through a developmental process called incomplete metamorphosis, with egg, nymph and adult phases.64 Nymphs resemble small adults, and undergo a series of moults as they develop.

The development of nymphs into adults can take months; the time period depends on food availability, temperature, and the general population of this colony. Since nymphs are unable to feed themselves, workers must feed them, but workers also take part in the social life of their colony and have certain different activities to accomplish like foraging, building or maintaining the nest or tending to the queen.5367 Pheromones regulate the caste system in termite colonies, preventing all but a very few of those termites from becoming fertile queens.68.

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Queens of the eusocial termite Reticulitermes speratus are capable of a long lifespan without sacrificing fecundity. These long-lived queens have a significantly lower level of oxidative damage, including oxidative DNA damage, than workers, soldiers and nymphs.69 The decreased levels of damage seem to be due to increased catalase, an enzyme that protects against oxidative stress.69.

Termite alates only leave the colony when a nuptial flight occurs. Alate men and females pair up together and then land in search of a suitable place for a colony.70 A termite king and queen do not mate until they find such a spot. When they perform , they excavate a chamber large enough for both, shut up the entrance and proceed to mate.70 After mating, the pair never go outdoors and spend the remainder of their lives in the nest.

By way of instance, alates in certain species appear during the daytime in summer while others emerge during winter.71 The nuptial flight may also begin at dusk, when the alates swarm around areas with plenty of lights. The time Going Here when nuptial flight begins depends on the environmental conditions, the time of day, humidity, wind speed and precipitation.71 The number of termites in a colony also varies, with the bigger species typically having 1001,000 individuals.

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The queen only lays 1020 eggs in the very early stages of the colony, but places as many as 1,000 per day when the colony is a few years old.53 At adulthood, a main queen has a great capability to lay eggs. In some species, the adult queen includes a greatly distended abdomen and might produce 40,000 eggs a day.72 Both mature ovaries may possess some 2,000 ovarioles each.73 The abdomen increases the queen's body length to several times greater than prior to mating and reduces her ability to move freely; attendant employees offer assistance. .

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The king develops only slightly bigger after initial mating and continues to mate with the queen for life (a termite queen can survive between 30 to 50 years); this is very different from ant colonies, in that a queen mates once with the male(s) and stores the gametes for lifetime, as the male ants die soon after mating.6267 When a queen is absent, a termite king generates pheromones which encourage the development of replacement termite queens.74 Since the queen and king are monogamous, sperm competition does not happen.75.

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Termites going through incomplete metamorphosis on the path to becoming alates form a subcaste in certain species of termite, functioning as potential supplementary reproductives. These supplementary reproductives only grow into primary reproductives upon the death of a king or queen, or when the primary reproductives are separated out of the colony.6676 Supplementaries have the ability to replace a deceased principal reproductive, and there can also be more than just a look at this site single supplementary within a colony.53 Some queens have the ability to switch from sexual reproduction to asexual reproduction.

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