Subterranean Termites reproduce like many swarming insect, in the warm season, winged males and females leave the nest to find their mate from another colony. Some of the females produce a pheromone to attract the males. Once the male and female termites have meat their mate, they search together for a suitable area to begin their nesting site, usually in the soil of in a crevice in a hole in wood. After they clean out a chamber, they seal themselves in to mate. All of the termites, whether they are male of female, develop from fertilized eggs. Once the first batch of eggs has hatched and the workers are born, some colonies reproduce by a process called “budding”. Their sprawling colonies simply keep expanding into new territory, with new kings and queens moving to the edges of the area where the colony resides, expanding the nest. Their workers and soldiers mix freely with those of the original colony.
The process begins when the queen lays the eggs, worker termite’s care for the eggs, keeping them clean from bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms in the soil. Once the eggs have hatched, they become larvae; they are characterized by their small size, soft head capsules and mouthparts, and their absence of coloration. They are dependent on worker termites to feed them. The larvae will molt, and soon become adult workers, termites also have the ability to change roles or castes to enlarge the colony in whichever area needed at the time.
This type of termite invades homes by the soil beneath or around the structure. These infestations may occur when the workers locate the wood when it comes in contact with the nest that has already been established. Subterranean Termites may also gain access through cracks in the slabs or seams where plumbing and electrical lines enter the home. A home where the foundation is made with hollow blocks or of masonry and rock provide many access points for termites. Once inside, the termite colonies maintain the access to the soil around or under the home; this provides them with the necessary moisture to remain healthy.
Significant termite damage does not accrue over a short period of time it may take several months or years of feeding. Termites like to feed on the soft grain of wood, when a serious infestation occurs only the outside shell and hard grain remains, they do this intentionally so they are kept hidden from predators and the environment. This also makes it very difficult to notice an infestation, a large piece of wood in a structure can look perfectly normal on the outside, even when it is full of termite galleries.
Subterranean termite damage has a distinctive appearance. An active infestation is recognized by the presence of live termites and a fecal-soil mixture within the tunnels. This soil mixture is brought into the tunnels to help maintain humidity. In active infestations, this soil looks moist. In old damage, the soil in the tunnels looks dry. In general, large areas of damaged wood indicate longer-term infestations, while smaller areas of damage may indicate less time since infestation.