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Reasons Why Termites Are Described As Social Insects

Before I tell you why and how termites are called social insects, I'd like you to think about it rationally before I tell you the facts. When discussing social interaction, we refer to the relationship between two organisms. As you may recall, termites usually travel in groups, which is why they are social insects. So, what do they have in common, or why do they move in groups that we call social insects?

December 19, 2022
Written By:  
Thomas Harper
Reasons Why Termites Are Described As Social Insects

The Colony of Termites

Each termite has hundreds, thousands, or even millions of siblings in a nest or colony. In reality, the termite colony is a large extended family. A "caste system" governs the functional roles of various groups of people within this family.

The worker caste is the most numerous. It is entirely made up of immatures, both males and females. All of the hard work in the colony is done by these wingless, soft-bodied individuals, including cleaning, maintaining, and repairing the nest, gathering food and water, caring for the young, and constructing new tunnels and galleries as the colony grows.

The soldier caste is smaller in number but much larger in stature than the worker caste. They lack wings as well but have large heads with powerful jaws. Their job is to guard the nest and protect it from ants and other intruders. Soldiers in some species lack jaws but have a large gland in the head that shoots defensive chemicals through a nozzle at the front of the head. Because the soldiers cannot care for themselves, the workers must feed and groom them.

The reproductive caste always includes a king (male) and a queen (female), the termite family's parents, and the colony's founders. Some species also have supplemental reproductives that help with egg laying. These are the colony's only adult insects. As the family grows, the queen lays many eggs, which develop into more workers and soldiers.

Why Are Termites Called Social Insects?

They Live In Colonies As A Group

Termites live in colonies. There is rarely a single isolated termite wandering around on its own. Because they live in communities, they share many things in common. And because they have so many things in common, they are known as social insects because they spend their entire lives socializing with one another in everything they do.

They Have An Effective Labor Division

They must share the functions of the community for efficient functioning because they must live a social lifestyle. The caste system refers to the division among social insects such as termites. For example, there are queens, soldiers, winged reproductives, and kings.

Caste Specialization In Both Structure And Function

This is still consistent with the previously mentioned division of labor. They have structural modifications that allow them to perform their highly specialized functions. Soldiers, for example, have specialized structures that help defend the colony from the enemy. The winged reproductives are designed for reproduction.


Social insects have developed a highly specialized structure that enables them to perform various functions. Understanding the termite colony and its social structure is the first step in learning how they can be managed. At Harper Pest Control, we aim to ensure that your home or business remains safe from termites and other pests. If you have questions about your termite control program or want to schedule a free inspection, please contact us today.

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