Western Subterranean Termite

Actual Size: 1/4″ – 1/2″

Characteristics: Range in color from dark brown to a yellow-tinted color. Reproductive swarmers or alates have two thick pigmented veins on their front wings.


  • They are some of the most destructive termites in North America and can be found in the Western United States.
  • Infest wood, trees, and shrubs but prefer dead, decaying, or milled lumber and build their colonies below the ground.
  • They can fly to new places to infest when they’re in the form of winged termites called reproductive, swarmers, or alates.


These termites are continually in a reproductive life cycle. The queen lays eggs and tends to them with the king while being aided by worker termites. Like most types of termites, western subterranean termites seek out damp or moist areas to breed and build tubes leading to sources of wood for feeding purposes. They can easily infest buildings through cracks in foundations or especially when there is rotted wood in or on the building.

Unfortunately, infestations are typically not visible and once they are noticed, the damage is often already extensive. One way to notice the signs is to look for swarming termites near your home.


Because western subterranean termites are so destructive, it’s essential to do everything possible to try and prevent an infestation. Being proactive about reducing any soil-to-wood contact around the foundation of your home, removing piles of wood around the home, reducing moisture inside the home, and fixing any plumbing problems promptly can all help reduce the possibility of a termite infestation.


A licensed pest control professional should be called to inspect the building if a termite infestation is suspected. If an infestation is found, the pest control expert can also treat the area to eliminate the termite invaders.