Eastern Subterranean Caste:

Reticulitermes flavipes

They're everywhere!

Common termites in our area are subterranean insects that feed on wood and cellulose products.   They build shelter "tubes" or "tunnels" out of soil particles  as they explore and feed inside and outside the host wood source.   They will always build a tunnel when feeding on dead trees, discarded wood debris and wood frame members in buildings.

These photos were not all taken at the same dwelling, but were collected over a two (2) year period while inspecting buyers' potential homes.   

Termites feeding on the bottom side of a piece of dead wood.     Termites cannot survive long without a shelter from ambient heat and a ready source of moisture.


Typical shelter tube extending from the soil along the side of a masonry block.

After many years of work, termites have weakened this floor frame member considerably.   Note how tubes extend downward in search of additional food.

View of termite "shelter tubes" extending from the soil in many locations in a crawl space of a dwelling.


Close up view of an extended tube.  Note the "branching" of the tube extension used in search of a food source.

Another close up of the same tube at another angle.   There appears to be three (3) equal length branches with a fourth one starting at the top of the trunk.  The reddish clump at the bottom of the tube assembly is a "clump" of tubes along the ground.


View of damage to a floor joist/sill that supports an exterior wall.  A termite shelter tube is visible on the side of the foundation wall.


Colonies send out multiple explorers and can build multiple tubes to access a food source, in this case, someone's floor and wall structure.


Termite tubes extending downward from the host food source in search of more food for colony.


A view of "clumped" tubes built while a colony searches for food in a crawl space.


Typical view of girder with termite damage.   Note how the bottom of girder is crushed at the column by the weight of the structure above.


The brown "coral-looking" material is a clump of termite shelter tubes built under and around a water heater cabinet in a crawl space.

Termite damage to floor girder under 25 year old dwelling.

View of floor girder with long screw driver penetrating through center of girder.