Termites Subterranean

A form of social insect called subterranean termites resides in the wood of structures or underground colonies. Because they construct their nests underground while scavenging for food above ground, they are known as “subterranean” animals. These termites are significant decomposers in many environments, but they may also seriously harm wooden buildings.

Termites Subterranean: Species, Life and Distribution

Most countries, including Australia, Africa, Asia, and the United States, have subterranean termites. They are renowned for their capacity to construct intricate nests and travel great distances in search of food.

The family Rhinotermitidae and the order Isoptera are the groups that subterranean termites belong to. They have a social structure with ants and are closely linked to them. They also have a hierarchy for breeding, eating, and defense.

Subterranean termite life

Subterranean termite colonies are divided into three primary castes: reproductives, soldiers, and workers. The reproductives are in charge of procreating and making sure the colony survives. They consist of the king, who mates with the queen and helps guard the nest, and the queen, the colony’s largest and most significant member. The workers are in charge of gathering food and looking after the nest, while the soldiers are in order to protect the nest from predators.

Cellulose, present in plant cell walls, provides a food source for underground termites. They prefer eating wood but will also eat paper, cardboard, and even plastic, all containing cellulose. Using their powerful mandibles to chew through wood and other things, they create tunnels, or “galleries,” into the earth to locate food. These galleries can be many feet long and frequently feature a recognizable zigzag design.

Although subterranean termites can survive in various habitats, they like warm, humid situations. They frequently inhabit places with high relative humidity, such as those close to water sources or with poorly drained soil. The warmer months of the year are when they are most active and also when they are most prone to harm structures.

Subterranean termites come in various species, such as the Formosan subterranean termite, the western subterranean termite, and the eastern subterranean termite. While the Formosan subterranean termite is native to Asia and has been introduced to various regions of the world, including the United States, the eastern and western subterranean termites are found throughout the country.

Subterranean termite life


The most prevalent and ubiquitous species in the U.S. is the eastern subterranean termite. Most states are east of the Rocky Mountains, and a few western states have it. Although this species likes to establish its nests beneath the ground, it will infest buildings’ wood. The majority of termite damage to structures in the U.S. is caused by it.

The western United States, particularly California, Oregon, and Washington, are home to the west subterranean termite. Instead of in the ground, it likes to make its nests in the wood of buildings—this species cause most termite damage to buildings in the western United States.

The Formosan subterranean termite is a native of Asia. However, it has also been brought to other nations, including the U.S. It can be found in Florida, Hawaii, and a few southern U.S. states. This species can seriously harm structures due to its extreme aggression. It is renowned for constructing enormous nests and traveling great distances searching for food.

Wooden constructions are susceptible to severe damage by subterranean termites. They frequently go unnoticed for a long time.

What is the lifespan of a subterranean termite?

A subterranean termite’s lifespan is influenced by its species and place in the colony. The reproductives (queens and kings) typically live the longest, whereas workers and soldiers live shorter lives.

A subterranean termite colony’s queen can live for several years and, in some circumstances, perhaps a decade or longer. The colony’s other members take good care of and safeguard the queen, who protects the territory and lays eggs.

Although he might survive for several years, the king of a subterranean termite colony typically lives less than the queen. The king’s primary responsibility is to mate with the queen and aid with nest defense.

The life spans of a subterranean termite colony’s workers and soldiers are the shortest, often ranging from a few months to a year. While the soldiers guard the nest against predators, the workers hunt for food and keep the nest in good condition.

It’s crucial to remember that several elements, such as the environment, illness, and predation, can impact a subterranean termite’s lifespan. Termites live longer in more hospitable environments and are better shielded from disease and predators.

How can you tell the difference between drywood and subterranean termites?

There are various ways to distinguish between dry wood and underground termites. Here are some significant variations:

  1. Habitat: Subterranean termites construct their nests underground and seek food above ground, whereas dry wood termites live in and create their nests in the wood of constructions.
  2. Unlike subterranean termites, dry wood termites are often larger and darker in color. Additionally, they have a broader waist and a more rectangular skull. The head and abdomen of subterranean termites are more tapered, smaller, and lighter in color.
  3. Damage patterns: Drywood termites frequently leave the outer layers of wood alone while consuming the inner layers, resulting in more localized damage to wood. In wood and other materials, subterranean termites frequently build complex networks of tunnels and galleries, and they can inflict more extensive harm.
  4. Droppings: Drywood termites make tiny, hard pellets that push through small holes in their nests to leave the area. Below the contaminated wood, these pellets, often known as “frass,” may amass. Since they devour the wood and other materials they hunt for, subterranean termites do not produce frass.
  5. Drywood and subterranean termites can swarm or fly away from their nests to mate and establish new colonies. Subterranean termites frequently swarm at night or on overcast days, but dry wood termites typically swarm in the late afternoon on sunny days.
  6. Drywood termites are controlled using different techniques than subterranean termites. While subterranean termites need to be controlled using baits and chemical treatments to the soil, dry wood termites can be managed with wood treatments and fumigation.

It’s best to speak with a pest management expert or entomologist to determine the exact type of termites present. They can identify the species and suggest a course of treatment by looking at the termites, their damage patterns, and other hints.

difference between termites and subterranean termites

What is the difference between termites and subterranean termites?

The insect group Isoptera includes both termites and subterranean termites. But there are some significant variations between the two:

  1. Habitat: Subterranean termites are one of several varieties of termites representing a vast group of insects. Termites that make their nests underground and seek food above ground are known as subterranean termites. Other termite species, like drywood termites, make their homes and nests in the wood of buildings.
  2. Subterranean termites have narrow waists and tapering heads. They are little, light-colored insects. Because of their size and appearance, they are frequently mistaken for ants. Other termite varieties can differ in size and appearance depending on the species.
  3. The social insects known as subterranean termites live in hierarchically organized colonies. They may seriously harm wooden structures and are notorious for creating vast networks of tunnels and galleries out of wood and other materials. However, depending on the species, other termite varieties, such as drywood termites, might behave differently and leave different forms of damage to wood.
  4. Most of the world’s countries, including those in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Australia, are home to subterranean termites. Other termite species, such as drywood termites, have more restricted geographic ranges and are only present in certain areas or temperatures.

In conclusion, termites are a diverse group of insects that encompass a variety of species, including subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are a particular species that construct their nests underground and forage for food above ground. They are notorious for seriously damaging wooden constructions.

How do you control subterranean termites?

The following are some techniques for eradicating subterranean termites:

  1. Baiting techniques entail putting bait stations around a structure’s perimeter and checking them for termite activity. A slow-acting poison is added to the bait if termites are present, and the termites then bring it back to their nest and distribute it to the other ants there. The poison is made to operate gradually so that the termites have time to spread it throughout the colony before it becomes dangerous. Although they could take some time to function, baiting systems can efficiently get rid of subterranean termites.
  2. Chemical treatments: In chemical treatments, the soil near a building’s foundation is treated with an insecticide to form a barrier that keeps termites from getting to the wood inside the building. These remedies may successfully stop termites from getting into a building, but they might not be as successful in getting rid of an infestation that has already started. If not appropriately utilized, chemical treatments could also be dangerous to people, animals, and the environment. This article has appeared on wikipests.com.
  3. Physical barriers: Concrete or metal flashing can stop termites from getting to a building’s timber. These barriers may be successful in keeping termites from getting into a building, but they might need to be more successful in getting rid of an infestation that has already started.
  4. Exclusion methods: To stop termites from getting to a structure’s wood, exclusion methods entail plugging probable entry sites and completing other repairs. This may entail patching up damaged wood, filling in gaps and fractures in the foundation, and addressing leaks or other moist-attracting issues.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do subterranean termites look like?

Small, light-colored insects with a narrow waist and a tapering head are subterranean termites. Because of their size and appearance, they are frequently mistaken for ants.

Adult subterranean termites are pale yellow to brown in appearance and are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch long. After swarming, they shed their wings, which feature two pairs of equal-sized and-shaped wings (mating and establishing new colonies).

The reproductives, soldiers, and laborers castes are the three primary social classes in the hierarchical society of underground termites. The queen and king are reproductives in charge of procreating and ensuring the colony survives.

The colony’s largest and most significant member, the queen, has a long lifespan. The king and queen mating helps to defend the nest. The workers are in charge of gathering food and looking after the nest, while the soldiers are to protect the nest from predators.

A subterranean termite colony’s workers and soldiers have short, elongated bodies and mandibles (jaws) for biting wood and other materials. They usually range in hue from light yellow to brown and are between 1/4 and 3/8 inches in length. In comparison to the laborers, soldiers have darker heads and larger mandibles.

How much does subterranean termite treatment cost?

The cost of treating a subterranean termite infestation can differ significantly based on several variables, including the size and nature of the structure being treated as well as the method of treatment. Treatment for a subterranean termite infestation can often cost between a few hundred and several thousand dollars.

Since baiting systems don’t use chemical insecticides, they are typically seen as a more economical way to treat subterranean termites. Baiting systems, however, could take longer to work and might need continual maintenance. Although chemical treatments may initially cost more, they yield quicker results and are more successful in getting rid of an infestation.

Are termite bites dangerous?

Termites are not seen as dangerous to people because they do not bite people or animals. However, they can seriously harm cellulose-based constructions like wood, which could endanger people’s safety if the harm is severe enough.

Termites are colonial, social insects that feed primarily on the cellulose present in wood and live in social groups. They can chew through wood and other materials because of a unique mouthpiece on their bodies called a mandible. They do not sting or bite people or other animals, and they do not contain any venom or other poisons that could be dangerous to humans.

Termites do not threaten humans in and of themselves, but they can seriously harm buildings built of wood and other cellulose-based materials. A building or different structure’s structural integrity may be compromised by termites, making it potentially dangerous to occupy. Additionally, they may leave cosmetic damage, like holes in floors or walls, which can be hazardous and ugly.


Termites that dwell underground feed on cellulose a substance primarily found in wood, and are gregarious insects that live in underground colonies. They are widespread throughout the planet and love warm, muggy climates.

Subterranean termites come in various species, such as the eastern, western, and Formosan subterranean termites. These termites are most active in the warmer months of the year and can seriously harm wooden structures.

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