This is a subterranean termite
worker, the caste responsible
for all of the damage that a
colony can inflict.
*From The Oklahoma State University Department
of Entomology & Plant Pathology

Symptoms: Typical signs of termite infestations include swarming of winged
adults in the spring and occasionally fall, mud tubes 1/ 4 to 1/2 inch wide
constructed over the surface of foundation walls, mud protruding from cracks
between boards and beams, and hollow sounds from infested wood when it is
tapped or extreme softness when probed with a knife. Sometimes you will
actually observe termite workers and/or soldiers when damaged wood is
probed. Termites feed slowly and there is no need to panic.

Life Cycle: In a typical termite colony, the king and queen are the only active
reproductives; they perform no other function. They are fed by the other
termites, and some have lived up to 25 years. A mature queen can lay
thousands of eggs each year. During the two-week incubation period, eggs
are tended to by the worker termites. The nymph hatches directly from the
egg. Attendants feed nymphs regurgitated food for the first two weeks,
enabling them through molting to become workers, soldiers, reproductives or
supplementary reproductives (depending on the needs of the colony). As the
reproductive nymph matures, its body lengthens and sexual organs develop.
The body turns black, eyes become functional and wings extend twice its
body length. Supplementary reproductives ensure the life of the colony
should it lose the king and queen. They may start new colonies by migrating
from the established colony. The worker termite has no eyes and is sterile.
Its main function is to provide the colony with food, usually obtained by eating
the wood of building structures or other available cellulose sources (such as
tree stumps, paper, etc.). Thus it is the workers that do the actual damage to
buildings. The soldier nymph develops a long, armored head and large jaws
during its last molt. The sole purpose of the soldier is to defend the colony
against enemies such as ants. All mature reproductives leave the colony at
the same time (usually mid-morning to mid-afternoon) on warm spring and
sometimes fall days (although in Oklahoma, swarmers have been recorded
from every month of the year). Swarmers are poor fliers and when above
ground usually flutter a few yards and fall. After falling to the ground, they
chew or pry off their wings. Finding the discarded wings in window sills,
air/heat ducts, or other areas around a structure is another indication of a
possible termite infestation. Surviving males find compatible mates and
construct a nest in wood which is usually in contact with the soil to become
king and queen. These termites live in nests underground and tunnel up for
food, which may be in the wood structure of homes.

Description: Subterranean termites are social insects that live in nests or
colonies in the soil. Each colony consists of three forms or castes:
reproductives, workers and soldiers. Reproductives can be winged (primary)
or wingless (secondary). The adults or reproductives do no direct damage to
wooden structures. The primary reproductive (swarmer) is coal black to pale
yellow-brown, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long, with pale or smoke gray to brown
wings. Secondary reproductives are white to cream-colored with short wing
buds. Termite workers are wingless, white to grayish-white and about 1/4 to
3/8 inch long. Soldiers resemble workers except that they have large,
well-developed brownish heads with strong mandibles. Adult swarmers have
straight bead-like antennae and a thick waist, with both pairs of wings of
similar size often easily detached. Adult ants differ in that they have elbowed
antennae and constricted waists. The forewings are much larger than the
rear wings and are not easily detached.
Strike 3 Pest Control offers free
termite inspections (if not a real
estate transaction) and
estimates, as well as traditional
barrier treatments using the
termiticides Termidor or
Premise. Please contact us for
pricing information on real
estate inspections and full or
spot termite treatments.
Copyright©  2005-2011 Strike 3 Pest Control, LLC Edmond, Oklahoma
Serving the Oklahoma City metro
Locally Owned & Operated
Most people only ever see
termite swarmers in the spring.
The primary purpose is to carry
on the species by starting new