The Subterranean Termite
The subterranean termite is one of the most diverse groups of termites. Although different subterranean termites have various features and characteristics, there are general traits of subterranean termites.
HOW TO IDENTIFY SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES
Their appearance varies depending upon the caste of the termite. The worker termites have almost same appearance across all termites groups, but soldiers and alates have a distinctive appearance.
Subterranean termites have long, narrow and ovular body shape. Worker termites possess a cream-colored body, and they are about 1/8 to 3/8 inches long.
Soldiers have powerful mandibles and cream-colored bodies while their heads are brown. Soldiers also lack wings. Swarmers (alates) are dark-brown to black in color and possess two pairs of wings, which help them fly around. They are usually ¼ to ½ inches in size.
Subterranean termites feed upon softwood, and when they infest a building or wooden structure, they eat away the inside soft-wood and leave behind the hard, dry wood. Therefore, usually, when they infest, the damaged wood has a layered sort of structure.
Just like drywood termites, subterranean termites also eat “with the grain” of the wood. They mostly nest underground because of excessive water availability, but they can also nest above ground only if there is the required amount of moisture present.
Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to prosper because from there they get the essential amount of water they need. The mud tubes that they build provide them easy access to the food sources in the buildings and houses. Moreover, these tubes also protect them from dry conditions outside and help retain moisture levels.
They have an incredible reproduction rate. One subterranean termite colony can produce 100,000 to 1,000,000 termites.
Unlike drywood and dampwood termites, when subterranean termites infest any wooden structure, they build a soil tube above the wooden structure, on the wall, and on the ceiling.
This tube shelters them and works as their pathway. The presence of such tubes is a tell-tale sign of a subterranean termite infestation.