Subterranean Termite


Actual Size: 4.6-12.3 mm

Characteristics: Swarmers are almost black with two wings. Workers are cream-colored, with no wings. Soldiers have large brown heads, cream-colored bodies, and do not have wings.


  • Subterranean termites build an intricate network of mud tunnels, buried beneath soil, to gain access to wood.
  • They excavate and eat wood.
  • They are the most common and destructive termite in North America.
  • Subterranean termites have saw-like jaws.
  • These termites are more likely to be found in developed or urban areas, rather than rural areas.

Subterranean Termite Habits

Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites in North America, and they are also the most common. Their colonies of two to ten million individuals are found underground in elaborate nests. These termites tunnel within the soil, connecting their large, underground network to a food source. Once the wood has been found, they build mud tubes to begin feeding. Because they live and feed underground, most of their life is spent completely out of sight.

Subterranean Termite Prevention

Because of their ability to stay hidden, their many swarmers and workers, and their saw-like jaws, subterranean termites can cause incredible amounts of damage to a home. Signs of infestation include the presence of their mud tubes, the presence of discarded swarmer wings, and visibly damaged wood.

The best way to prevent subterranean termites is to make sure that they cannot enter a home. They often use plumbing utility holes and cracks in foundations. Any and all cracks or utility holes where their tunnels can access a structure must be sealed shut.

Subterranean Termite Extermination

A licensed pest control professional should be called to inspect the building if a termite infestation is suspected. This expert should also inspect the property, ensuring that it is adequately termite-proofed. If an infestation is found, the pest control expert can also treat the area to exterminate the termite invaders.