A termite colony starts when a king and queen pair up during an annual mating flight and settle down to start a family. At first, the eggs the queen termite produces go from, larva to nymph to worker and soldier termites that care for the nest. When the colony gets big enough, the king and queen start making, alate (winged termites) that leave home to find mates and start colonies of their own. Finally, late in the queen’s life, she lays several eggs that become secondary queens to replace her–and those queens start mating with the king to produce more workers, soldiers, and alate. This inbreeding reduces the offspring’s genetic diversity and thus the colony’s ability to adapt to environmental stress. The Japanese termite has found a way to eliminate the breeding, the queen bears her junior queens through asexual reproduction that produces offspring with duplicates of half of mom’s genes.