Swarmers are about 3/8 inches long, including wings.The body is a dark brown to almost black. The soldier’s head is rectangular in shape, not narrowed toward front. The length is fully 2 times the width. The mandibles lack teeth.
They only eat the spring wood and leave the lignin-containing summer wood which they cannot effectively digest. Hence, damage wood appears to be layered. Soil is typically found in the galleries.
The colonies are usually located in the ground. Location is usually below the frost line, but above the water table and rock formations. Mud tubers are built to cross areas of adverse cracks less than 1/16 inches wide. If a constant source of moisture is available, colonies can exist above ground and without ground contact.
After swarming, they pair off and construct an appropriate cavity. They mate within a day of excavating their cavity. Four to twenty eggs are produced in the 1st clutch. The eggs usually hatch in about 50-56 days. The 1st instar lasts 14-18 days, the 2nd lasts 14-18 days, the 3rd last about 30 days, and the 4th last about 60 days. There may be as many as 7 instars. Nymphal development usually takes more than 5 months and workers may live from 3-5 years. Swarmers are not produced before the 3rd or 4th year, at the earliest.
Swarming takes place during the daytime and in the spring time, but without the rain.
Reticulitermes hesperus Banks