Subterranean Termites

The Eastern subterranean termite is the most common termite found in North America. Subterrantean termites nest in the soil and prefer an environment with a higher moisture content and can have colonies with populations in the millions. They build mud tubes to protect themselves from drying out and predators. Unlike the drywood termite they do not expel pellets from their galleries, instead they use the pellets to put towards the construction of their mud tubes; these mud tubes consist of soil, saliva, and excrement.  Although subterranean termites are typically found nesting in the soil, that doesn’t mean that they will only be found on the ground, mud tubes with active subterranean termites have been found in attic spaces.


There are some steps homeowners should take in order to eliminate harborage areas where subterranean termites can begin to nest.

  • Remove any tree stumps or roots close to the home
  • Ensure that any landscaping (mulch or plants) is at least 2 feet away from the home
  • Conduct annual inspections, these should consist of looking for wings, winged adults, mud tubes or wood damage
  • Ensure that any wood that is in direct contact with the soil (fence posts, poles) is pressure treated and it is located away from the home.

Signs of a subterranean infestation include:

  • Mud tubes,
  • winged adults (swarmers)
  • wings
  • wood damage
  • hollow sound when tapping on wood

Treatment methods

  • Trenching and treating the perimeter of the house to create a termiticide barrier
  • Installing bait stations in strategic areas around the house

Winged subterranean termites


Mud Tube (foundation)


Mud Tube (Tree)




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