Sightings of larvae of any bugs inside the home tell you one thing.
It means that the bugs infesting your house have colonies, and they’re successfully reproducing.
In other words, sightings of larvae are a sign of massive bug infestation.
And the sighting of termite larvae signifies the same.
In this guide, you’ll find out why termite larvae on your home’s floor should ring your alarm bells.
You’ll learn why and how termite larvae showed up on your floor.
You’ll also find the immediate things you need to follow on seeing the termite larvae.
What Does A Termite Larvae Look Like?
Termite larvae, also known as the immatures or baby termites, are newly hatched termites that emerge from termite eggs.
Identifying termite larvae is straightforward. Termite larvae look like miniature adult termites.
It means their physical shape and body structure are like adult termites.
They’re tiny and soft-bodied. Termite larvae haven’t developed a hardened exoskeleton that develops as they progress through the termites’ lifecycle.
But termite larvae fully developed legs, thorax, abdomen, head, and a pair of antennae.
A termite larva grows only up to 1/10th of an inch in size (2.5 mm). That is precisely the size of termite eggs.
An adult worker termite is two and half times the size of the termite larva, growing to 6.4 mm or 1/4th inch.
Also, the termite larvae are white and translucent. They molt several times before they metamorphose into one of the alates, workers, or soldier termites.
All termite types, drywood termites, dampwood termites, subterranean termites, and Formosan termites, have larvae that mature into adults.
What Do Termite Larvae Eat?
Like all termites and other wood-eating insects, termite larvae depend on cellulose and starch to survive.
Their diet preference makes them a danger to wood, albeit indirectly.
Termite larvae don’t have developed mouth parts to chew on the food. Instead, the worker termites rear them and feed them by breaking down the wood.
The termite larvae barely leave their colonies. They don’t need to venture out for food because the worker termites feed them.
Subterranean termite larvae will remain inside the ground if the colony is in your yard or inside the wooden structure in your house where there’s an infestation.
In the same way, the larvae of drywood termites will remain inside the colonies the adult termites made inside the wooden structure.
Lifecycle Stages Of Termite Larvae
The termite larvae molt three times before the queen assigns them a caste they must perform for the colony.
Molting is the process when the termites shed their exoskeleton to accommodate a bigger exoskeleton while growing.
The molting period depends on the availability of food and humidity levels.
The more there’s to eat, the more damp the wood is, and the higher the moisture levels in the climate, the quicker will be the molting cycle.
Under ideal conditions, the molting period can be between 2-3 months. It can be even longer depending on the termite species.
For example, the molting and gestation period for drywood termites is longer than other termite species, like the subterranean and Formosan termites, which invade homes.
That’s why drywood termite infestation takes time to show up.
Termite larvae mature into workers, soldiers, or alates (the winged termites).
The queen termite releases pheromones which influence the matured termites’ role in the colony.
Most termite larvae mature into worker termites because the colony needs them the most.
Worker termites are responsible for expanding the colony, rearing the baby termites, and feeding the queen.
After worker termites, the highest numbers are of the soldier termites.
Soldier termites are the biggest termites in the colony. They’re darker than the worker termites and have big heads with visible mandibles.
The job of the soldier termites is to defend the termite colony and the queen from predators like ants.
The worker termites also feed the soldier termites. Their large mandibles cannot break down the wood for eating.
The leftover termite larvae mature into alates or reproductives. These are termites with wings.
When they develop the wings, they leave the current colony in swarms. They fly off into a new location to mate and start a new colony.
Why Termite Larvae On The Floor A Cause Of Concern?
Termite droppings on the floor and sightings of termite larvae are a bad sign for your home.
If you see termite larvae on the floor or elsewhere, it clearly states that they’re in massive numbers in your home.
Their sightings signify the likelihood of a severe termite infestation in your home.
The colonies that termites build inside wood are not the wooden piece’s immediate layer.
Termites bore into the wood and chew it from inside out. They also lay their eggs on the deeper section of the wood so that the larvae, queen, and eggs remain safe.
So, if you see termite larvae on the floor, the floor is severely damaged because of the infestation.
Check the ceilings and walls if your wooden floor doesn’t cave in and doesn’t sound hollow on tapping.
Termites can also infest ceilings and walls. The termite larvae must have fallen from there on the floor.
And you need to act before the termites compromise the structural integrity of your home.
How To Get Rid Of Termite Larvae On Your Home’s Floor?
It’ll be best not to take matters into your hand. Termites are challenging pests to eliminate without professional knowledge.
Also, the DIY ways of eliminating invasive bugs like termites aren’t effective, especially when the infestation is severe.
Spraying pesticides and scattering diatomaceous earth on the floor can eliminate a few termite larvae but will fail to eliminate termites from the source.
And most of the time, the DIY treatments are only cosmetic, not thorough.
So, on seeing termite larvae in your home, call a pest controller immediately.
The pest controller will inspect your home to determine the severity of the infestation.
He’ll also find out how far termites have spread and if your home needs only pesticide treatment or fumigation.
But if you notice termite larvae in your yard, you can treat your yard for termites yourself.
Removing the infested wood, infested mulch beds, treating the soil with nematodes or termite granules, and using pesticides containing chemicals like fipronil and hexaflumuron can eliminate termites in your yard.
However, if you have never handled pesticides, it can be risky for you. So, in that case, it’ll be best to leave it in the hands of an exterminator.
Read the safety instructions on the pesticide bottle labels and take appropriate precautions.
But Wait, Are They Termite Larvae Or Maggots?
Maggots are larvae of flies and beetles. And you can confuse termite larvae with maggots or vice versa.
Sightings of maggots also indicate a fly infestation in your home. But fly infestation can’t bring your house down like the termite infestation.
Well, to save you from the confusion and to help you determine if the white insects that you’re seeing are maggots or termite larvae, below is the list of differences –
- Maggots are worms. They don’t have legs. Termite larvae have developed legs
- Termite larvae have noticeable heads and a pair of antennae. Maggots don’t.
- Termite larvae are completely shiny white. Maggots can be beige or creamy
- Maggots can have a dark spot at the tip. That’s their head
- Termite larvae have an abdomen and thorax. Maggots’ bodies are one singular piece
- Some maggots, which are known as grubs, are bigger and thicker than termite larvae
Termite larvae on the floor can be a sign of severe termite infestation. Termite larvae don’t venture out in search of food because the worker termites feed them.
So, if you’re seeing them on the floor, it means that their numbers have increased.
And there are thousands more of them inside your home.
So, it’s always best and safe for you and your home to hire a pest controller to gauge the intensity of termite infestation.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, the pest controller will prescribe the right treatment for your home.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.