"Native" Subterranean Termites

Christopher Dunaway, Ring, Dennis R., Morgan, Alan L.

Native workers are on the left with a soldier at right.

Native subterranean termites build shelter tubes across foundations in order to access structures. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Native subterranean termite alates are emerging from an infested building for their annual mating flight. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

The designation "native" subterranean termite refers to any termites of four different species found in Louisiana that are indigenous to the United States. These are: Reticulitermes flavipes, Reticulitermes virginicus, Reticulitermes hageni and Reticulitermes tibialis. It is difficult to distinguish between the four in the field. Typically they are collectively referred to as "Natives" or "Retics."

Mature native termite colonies can range in population from 50,000 to over 200,000 termites. This number is dictated by several factors, including the age of the colony, the amount and quality of the food present and the accessability of water.

As with other subterranean species, they build their colonies under the surface of the soil and move around in tunnels excavated from the substratum. Native termites will construct shelter tubes over foundations, pipes, etc. to reach the wood within a structure or enter through direct wood-to-ground contact.

Similar to ants and Formosan subterranean termites, native subterranean termites also produce winged reproductives which emerge from the colony each year for the purpose of mating and creating new colonies. These alates are usually black in color with white translucent wings while still in flight. They will drop these wings once they land. Formosan alates are red-brown. Native alates usually fly during the day while Formosan alates do not begin to emerge until dusk and will fly until about 9 p.m.

Content by Chris Dunaway.
6/23/2011 1:57:32 AM
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