Appearance: Four "castes" of a termite colony: Worker: approximately one-forth of an inch long, light colored, wingless; Soldier: elongated head with mandibles; Supplementary Reproductives: wingless or very short, non-functional wings; light colored; Swarmers: winged, and darker than other members; caste most often seen by homeowners.

Termite Swarmer

Termite Worker

Habits: Live in colonies underground, from which they build tunnels in search of food; able to reach food above the level of the ground by building mud tubes. They need to stay in contact with the soil in order to survive.

Diet: Wood and other cellulose material.

Reproduction: Different rates of growth from egg stage to adult depend on individual species; one queen per colony, which can lay tens of thousands of eggs in her lifetime, but most eggs are laid by supplementary reproductives in an established colony.

Other Information: Termites cause more damage to homes in US than storms and fire combined; colonies can contain up to 1,000,000 members.