Subterranean termites are ground-inhabiting, social insects that live in colonies. A colony or nest of subterranean termites may be up to 10 - 15 feet below the soil surface to protect it from extreme weather conditions. These termites travel through mud tubes to reach food surface above the soil surface. The mature termite colony has castes :
a) reproductive (king and queen),
The colony reaches its maximum size approximately 1 to 2 years and may include 600,000 to 2,000,000 workers.
The winged reproductive are dark brown to brownish black and have two pairs of equal size wings that extend well beyond the body. Swarms are common especially after a rain. After a flight, the winged males and females return to the ground and shed their wings.
Now, the wingless males and females pair off and search for sources of woods and moisture in soil. The royal couple digs a chamber in the soil near wood, enters the chamber and seals the opening. After mating, the queen starts laying eggs. The queen may live up to 25 years and lay more than 6,000,000 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are yellowish white and hatch after an incubation of 50 - 60 days.
Full-grown workers are soft-bodied, wingless, blind and creamy white. In early stages, they are fed predigested food by the king and queen. Once workers are able to digest wood, they provide food for the entire colony. The workers perform all the labor in the colony such as obtaining food, feeding other caste members and immature, excavating wood and constructing tunnels. Workers mature within a year and live within 5 years.
Termites probe through the soil until they come in contact with a food source, a process known as "random foraging" From their colonies, these foragers can travel as far as 5.4 - 6.0 metres. Once a food source is located, they build a path to start their system of transporting the food back to the colony. In most cases, termites never expose themselves to light or open air, making their detection during feeding nerly impossible. Even in crossing over non-soil matter such as concrete, they will build tubes composed of soil particles to keep themselves protected.
Everything in then is place for system mass food transportation. Thousands of termites will travel back and forth from the food source to the nest, carrying with them the sustenance the colony needs to survive. Termites colonies work as interdependent units - they all reply on each other for survival.