Subterranean termites are the termites that build their colonies within the soil. But are also found in moist wood. They are divided into workers, soldiers, and reproductives (alates or swarmers). The characteristics of each category differ from the other.


Like any other group of termites, subterranean termites also look like ants. However, the sizes of different categories differ from one another. The soldier termites have comparatively larger heads with strong mandibles. The biggest amongst the three is the reproductives who measure up to 1 inch in length.

how to identify subterranean termites


Different categories of this group of termites have different behavior. Mentioned below are a few of their most visible characteristics.

categories of subterranean termites


These are the ones responsible for the visible damage, as they eat the wood and build tunnels. They are the ones that create and also repair the colonies when damaged. They also take care of the young termites and forage for food. The population of the worker termites would be the most in any termite colony.


This category of termite protects the colony. They have larger sized mandibles and larger sized heads.


This category comprises of the kings, queens or the alates (swarmers). The swarmers develop wings and leave a mature colony to mate, reproduce and form a new colony.

Signs Of Subterranean Termites

signs of subterranean termites

Broken Wings

Once the swarmers have mated they start building a new colony. During this process, the flying termites shed their wings. You will usually find broken termite wings on the windowsills. So, if you notice any gathering of broken scale-like wings, you need to take immediate action.

Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites form muddy to pass through in search of food. You will find these mud tubes on the ground that connects to a wooden body. You can also search for them over concrete foundations.


The swarmer termites are attracted to bright lights. You would find them flying around light fixtures, windows, and vents. They are most visible during humid weather.

Damaged Wood

This may be the last thing that you notice, as the damages can go unnoticed until it is too late. They feed on the inner side of wood while keeping the outside intact. It makes the wood hollow. The familiar places are the headboards, under wooden flooring, and in wooden furniture.

Subterranean Termite Threats

  • Subterranean termites can create a lot of damage to the property. They consume wood and wooden structures. They can destroy a construction within months. It may lead to a massive financial loss.

  • Subterranean termites are detected after the damages are noticed. Therefore, the infestation may need an immediate solution. Delay in treatment may spread the infestation.

  • They can also destroy books and other paper products. You may lose your important documents if the termites infest them.

  • They can grow their colonies very fast. You need to take fast action. They need to be eliminated. If even few are left, they may spread again.

How To Get Rid Of Subterranean Termites

how to get rid of subterranean termites

Form A Chemical Barrier In The Soil

Form a chemical barrier around your home. It will prohibit the termites from entering your home. You can opt to use liquid insecticide. You need to spray it in the soil connected to your home.

Use Chemical Baits To Destroy The Colony.

You can buy baits that will help you in killing the whole of termites. Though this process takes time, yet it has
proven to be very useful. The termites consume these chemical baits. They further transfer it to other termites. This process helps in destroying the entire colony.

Apply Chemical On Wood

You can spray pesticides on the wood surface and keep the termites away. However, this would only give you a temporary solution.

Contact Professional Pest Control

It is advisable to contact a professional, the moment you find a termite infestation. Hiring a professional will let you relax. They will search and treat the entire house and will provide a permanent solution.


  • Do not let water accumulate near your home
  • Install a proper drainage system
  • Keep wet garden material and mulch away from your home
  • Take immediate action if you observe any signs of termites
  • Warm and humid areas attract termites; thus, keep the dark areas ventilated.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to select a pest control firm to get rid of Subterranean termites?

You will have to opt for a professional and experienced company with a good reputation. An experienced company will provide you with a permanent solution from your termite infestation.

How can termites enter a home?

These pests can come by squeezing through any tiny crack or crevice. They enter through a timber that would be connected to your home. They require a humid condition to travel. Termites form mud tubes from the ground to your home to move under suitable conditions.

What is the lifespan of a Subterranean termite?

The queens can live up to 30 years.

Can Subterranean termites make way through concrete?

Subterranean Termites cannot go through concrete. However, they can enter inside through a tiny crack. Once they squeeze inside, they are more likely to eat their way through and make space for more termites.

What is the difference between winged ants and swarmers?

Though they may look similar, yet there are minute differences in both. The winged ants will have pinched waists and two pairs of different sized wings. Swarmers have pigmented bodies with a broader waist; the wings of swarmers are all the same sized.

Can Subterranean termites infest furniture and closets?

Subterranean Termites look for humid places. Closets or furniture in a humid place has more chances of termite infestation.