Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas above ground 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 reproductiveness. The characteristics of a subtenanean 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 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 are by far the most destructive species. They can collapse a building entirely, meaning possible financial ruin for the homeowner. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of a termite work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time.