SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES Family Rhinotermitidae

Color: Creamy brown
Legs: Six
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
Size: 1/8
Antennae: Yes
Flight: Yes

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Termite colonies are organized into castes depending on tasks — workers, soldiers and reproductives. The characteristics of a subterranean termite are dependent on the termite’s role in the colony. Cream-colored Worker subterranean termites are 1/8 to 3/8’s of an inch in length. Soldier subterranean termites are of a similar body length, but are distinguished by their powerful mandibles. Solider termites have cream-colored bodies and brown heads. Reproductive subterranean termites are approximately one inch long.

Subterranean termites live underground and build tunnels, referred to as mud tubes, to reach food sources. Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring — groups of reproductive termites go off to start new colonies.

Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to survive and live underground. They can build tunnels through cracks in concrete.

Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.

Subterranean Termites can be found in All 50 States

Avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil. Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building.

Comparing Termite and Ant Swarmers

People often confuse termites with ants because of their similar appearance. There are however several key differences between flying ants and termites.


1) Termites have four wings of equal length, ants also have four wings however the front pair of wings is longer than the back pair.
2) Termites have straight antennae, ants antennae are elbowed.
3) Termite bodies are shaped like a torpedo, ants are shaped like an hour glass.
4) Termites do not sting or bite, Ants can and do, so be careful.