The life cycle of the termite begins with a mating flight, wherein swarming winged reproductive males and females leave established colonies and procreate. After fertilization, winged termites land and shed their wings, going on to form new colonies. These insects then become the king or queen termites of their newly established colonies. The queen and king termites are at the center of the termite life cycle and are responsible for reproduction.
After the fertilized queen lays her eggs, they hatch into pale white larvae. Eggs hatch into larvae and molt to develop into workers, soldiers, and primary or secondary reproductives.
A nymph is a young termite that is going through molts, a process of shedding its exoskeleton, to become a reproductive. First, a termite develops a soft exoskeleton under its current, hard exoskeleton. Then, once the termite has reached maturity, its outermost skeleton splits open, and the new exoskeleton enlarges and hardens. This molting process continues throughout a termite’s life cycle based on the colony’s needs.
Over the course of several molts, these larvae grow to assume a role in one of the three termite colony castes: workers, soldiers, and reproductive termites, also known as alates.
Source: 2019 Orkin LLC Digest