A group that works together is typically more powerful than an individual that stands alone. By working together in colonies, insects like wasps, ants, and termites are able to cover more territory and become more productive since their responsibilities are evenly divided. 

Understanding how social structures affect the behavior of pests helps us control them. Below we have a few examples of social structures for some of the most common communal insects, as well as how pest control methods work to keep them in check. 


Like the rest of the insects discussed here, wasps live in colonies that are divided into two groups. The first consists of worker wasps, infertile females responsible for housekeeping, guarding the nest, and feeding the larvae. The second caste system is made up of reproductive wasps, a queen and drone males.

Pest Control Techniques Based on Their Social Structure

Because the colony, at least in its beginning stages, relies on the queen so heavily for day-to-day operations, killing her could destroy the entire colony. Many people use this technique. It isn’t always the best or safest way to take down a wasp colony, but this particular method demonstrates just how important the social structure of pests can be. 

Eradication products include aerosols and other liquid sprays, as well as powders. In many cases, it’s best to apply these insecticides at night, when the wasps are less aggressive. With the right strategy and training, the entire colony can be eliminated all at once.

However, because a colony often consists of hundreds or more wasps willing to work together to defend their nest, they can be very hazardous to approach, especially when you consider they can all attack simultaneously and each one has the ability to sting multiple times. It’s mainly for that reason, wasp control treatments need to be applied by a trained professional.


At the top of the ant hierarchy sits the queen (who is the leader and is responsible for laying eggs), then come workers and soldiers (female ants who gather food, build the nest, and protect the colony), and finally drones (male ants used solely for mating). 

When worker ants are foraging for food, they leave behind a chemical trail that leads other ants to the food source. So, when you see one ant, there’s a really good chance there’s more coming.

Pest Control Techniques Based on Their Social Structure

There are quite a few methods people use to eliminate ant colonies. One is to destroy their home, or mound, by pouring boiling water into the tunnels. While this method can do serious damage to the structure of the mound, it will only destroy the colony if the queen is killed. Whether this happens is often the luck of the draw, depending on the water going down the right tunnels.  

Poisons are also available, which can be either a liquid or solid. It’s applied around the mound, then discovered by the ants, which take it as feed for the rest of the colony, including the queen. When she ingests it, she dies, causing the colony to collapse.


Like wasps and ants, termites are separated into castes capable of reproduction and the non-reproductive members act as soldiers and workers. Like ants, they use pheromones to communicate with each other; while in some cases, they use vibrations, mainly to alert colony members about a perceived danger. 

Pest Control Techniques Based on Their Social Structure

Some methods involve chemicals that repel termites, keeping them away from an area surrounding, say, your home or business. Other methods actually attract them by treating the soil and wood around a building with an insecticide termites mistake for food. When the termites go back to their colony, they unknowingly poison other termites. 

Knowing how they work together allows trained exterminators to use such social behavior against termites when controlling or preventing an infestation. While there may be choices as to which method or insecticide to use, they typically require special equipment and skills.

Insectek Will Take Down Pests

We understand pests that organize themselves into social structures aren’t the easiest to tackle on your own. They have to be handled thoughtfully and carefully by a trained professional. Insectek’s pest control experts are ready to help you gain control. Your home or business should be yours only. There’s no room for a colony. Contact us for more information.