Scientific Name: Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar)
Color: Creamy brown
Shape: Long, narrow, oval
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 can be found in all 50 States.
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.
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.
(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)