Reticulitermes hesperus (Rhinotermitidae)

the western subterranean termite


Reticulitermes hesperus alate


Observe the 3 major morphological forms:

  1. Winged reproductives - dark brown to black cylindrical bodies, 4 mm in length. Wings are long and translucent.
  2. Workers - greyish-white bodies, 5 mm in length.
  3. Soldiers - 7 mm in length with enlarged heads and prominent mandibles.

Contrast these morphological forms to Z. angusticollis.






Reticulitermes hesperus soldier Soldier - note prominent mandibles.


Reticulitermes hesperus damage

This termite often builds earthen-like tubes across concrete foundations to reach wood sources, as it must maintain contact with ground moisture.





Principal Hosts:

Wooden structures of all types. This termite feeds mainly on springwood, and leaves the harder summerwood in ribbons.

Economic Importance:

The western subterranean termite is the major termite pest from southern B.C. to central California.

References and Links:

EAG: 539-541; FC: 75-76.