What is the Lifespan of a Termite?

Being the termite experts that we are, we get asked a lot of questions about the wood-devouring pest. A question that we hear often is, how long does a termite live?

That question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. There are a number of variables that affect the lifespan of a termite. But generally speaking, termites live roughly 1-2 years on average. Yeah, that’s longer than most people expect.


Termite Species and Lifespan

There are over 2,000 species of termites throughout the world. They each have their own unique physical and social characteristics that allow them to survive.

The longest living termite species is the African mound-building termites, but they aren’t among the 45 termite species known to exist in the U.S. Those 45 species fall into one of three primary types:

All three types of termites are excellent survivors. Their colonies can grow to hundreds of thousands and within their relatively short lifespan they can do serious structural damage.


Type of Termite and Lifespan

Termites are not all alike. Like bees, there’s a queen termite at the top of the colony. Worker and solider termites make up the bulk of the group. They live and die to serve their queen.

While workers and soldiers only live up to two years, many termite queens can survive for up to 25 years. Eastern subterraneantermite queens have been known to live up to 30 years, whereas drywood termite queens tend only live 10-12 years. The African mound-building termite queen can grow to 60 years old (she’s the longest living bug in existence). However, it’s more common for a queen to live 15 or so years.

Secondary reproductive termites also exist to help keep the colony going and take over when the primary queen dies. A queen termite may also allow a select number of reproductive termites to become supplemental queens when she is unable to lay enough eggs on her own.


Life Stages of a Termite


The queen isn’t lying around doing nothing for decades. She’s laying eggs every day to build her colony. The egg stage typically lasts 25-30 days.


Termites emerge from eggs as tiny larvae that are as big as their shell. Worker termites tend to the larvae and help them grow into nymphs.


This is the stage that will determine which type of termite the insect will become.


The nymph will go through numerous molting phases as it transforms into a termite.


After the molting process the termite will reach maturity as a worker, soldier or reproductive termite.


Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. is equipped to take on termites no matter where they are in the lifecycle. Give us a call today to learn more about termite control.