Heneicosane Termite Recognition Pheromones; How Workers Identify King & Queen Termites

Termites are notoriously known for the damage they do to homes and businesses, so much they cost the United States billions of dollars a year in repairs. They devour wood for sustenance and with the various types of termites, they all have their own characteristics and attributes, but they are typically social insects that have a king and queen, soldiers, workers, and swarmers (future kings and queens or reproducers). Today, we at A Five Star Termite and Pest Control would like to relate some new findings regarding king and queen termites.

Heneicosane Pheromone

To communicate their royal status with worker termites, researchers at North Carolina State University have identified a specific chemical used by the higher termite castes, or the queens and the kings. The knowledge of termite evolution, behavior, and control could advance the understanding with these findings. In a study a wax-like hydrocarbon, which is a chemical containing carbon and hydrogen atoms called heneicosane was detected. It is found on the surface of subterranean royal termite’s body and is used to enable worker termites to recognize and care for them. Termites live mostly underground or in wood and are generally blind; making communication through chemical signals useful. According to the experts, it is the first report of a king recognition pheromone in insects and the first of a queen recognition pheromone in termites. In the research, the use of gas chromatography isolated specific chemicals from the exoskeletons of royal and worker termites and only found heneicosane on the royal termites.

How Worker Termites Identify Kings & Queens in Colony

An action that seemed to reflect the termite version of royal recognition, the workers did not bow or curtsy, but instead started shaking when heneicosane was applied on glass dummies serving as royal termite surrogates. When the royal pheromone was blended with other hydrocarbons from the colony’s workers that represent the colony’s odor, the workers shook more so. The colony’s odor gives workers a home and heneicosane within this home allows the termites to know who the royals are in this two-step recognition process.

Termites Inspection, Control, Removal & More in Canyon Lake, Spring Branch, Bulverde, Timberwood Park, Leon Valley, Alamo Heights, New Braunfels, Selma, Live Oak, Converse, Universal City, Cibolo, Seguin, New Berlin, St Hedwig, Adkins, La Vernia, Elmendorf, Losoya, Von Ormy, Macdona & San Antonio, Texas

Since termites are a major problem, it is important that they are thoroughly exterminated; otherwise, the colony can simply rebuild itself. If you have termites, or suspect you might have them, call the experts of A Five Star Termite and Pest Control. Our professionals can perform a comprehensive inspection and confirm the presence of termites and present the most optimal solution for full termination. Using proven techniques and effective products, strategically placed throughout the home, the termite colony will be obliterated!

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