As distinguishing feature of termite colonies, queen lays the eggs. It is supreme mother. To colony started when that first queen and her king chose place to shed their wings and set up housekeeping. Before their flying around in big party called swarm. The swarm breaks up, queen and king pair off and the settle near ready supply the necessities of life, plenty of wood and sufficient water and some kind of shelter.
At first, the queen may have only a small number of eggs. The first broods maybe cared for queen and her king. It maybe matter of two or three years before the colony is fully organized. It is plenty of time because most queens live long time, 20 or 30, or even as many as 50 years. After the first few batches of eggs, will enough workers take care of daily chores and the queen can concentrate on laying eggs. In most species this means many, many eggs.
A queen will gradually grow to become much larger that swarming with other young females and males. To support massive production of eggs, the queen must attain abnormal abdominal size. While the workers and soldiers are tiny little things, the queen maybe as big as person’s thumb. The head, thorax, and legs of queen maybe no more than twice the size of mature worker or soldier, but the abdomen is greatly enlarged to accommodate the production of eggs. Some days these eggs will issue forth at rate of one every few seconds.
Never mind tending for many offspring; the many workers will at egg issues from queen during later years of mass production, worker will place it way of reproduction. Often is orderly array of eggs which are cared the workers as hatch and then develop in tiny mobile workers themselves. In meantime the queen just continues with her egg laying.
It appears in many species of termites, numerous eggs have potential of becoming queens. There may hormones are center, of nest that keep ordinary workers from fully developing into egg-producing queens. However, if and an old queen dies, often one or more fledgling queens waiting take to primary responsibilities for motherhood. Such in-colony queen development may skip the growing of wings and the attendant swarming with it nuptial flight and new colony establishment.
There may even more than one producing queen in large colony. Other queens are called secondary reproductives. Sometimes each queen is compartmentalized the others. The procedures and practices will vary for one species of termite to another.