Family Rhinotermitidae
 
Subterranean Termite
 
Subterranean Termite

Characteristics
Size : Worker: 1/8- to 3/8-inch in length.
Soldier : Body is similar to that of the worker, but large, deck head with powerful mandibles.
Supplementary Reproductive : About one inch in length.
Primary Reproductive : About one inch in length.

Color : Worker: Pale, cream colored.
Soldier : Light colored with brown head.
Supplementary Reproductive : Light colored.
Primary Reproductive : Dark brown/black.

Soldiers have an elongated head with pincer-like mandibles. Supplementary Reproductives
have either no wings or very short non-functional wings, while Primary Reproductives have four
wings of equal size until they are shed. Primary Reproductives are the termites most often seen
in the open. They are commonly referred to as "swarmers."

Behavior
This termite is known to swarm in spring, but small flights can occur at any time of the year.
Swarming is the visible means that termites use to establish new colonies. As the colony
grows, specialized castes are produced for the different tasks required. One caste produced is
the workers. Another caste is the soldiers. And a third caste is the reproductives. Primary
reproductives swarm and start new colonies. They are called alates or swarmers. Although
thousands of primary reproductives may be produced each year, they all leave the nest.
Supplementary reproductives, on the other hand, can become reproductive only in the colonies
in which they were born. They assist the primary king and queen in population growth of the
colony.

Habitat
Subterranean termites live in colonies in the ground, building vertical tunnels that look like mud
tubes above ground level so that they can search for food. Because subterranean termites will
die if exposed to air for an extended period of time, the tunnels provide protection from the open
air, allowing workers to carry food to the nest. Subterranean termites can form tunnels through
cracks in concrete, so slab homes are not exempt from these termites. They need to stay in
contact with the soil in order to survive, unlike drywood termites that only need low moisture.
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