Four casts of a termite colony: Worker; approximately 1/4 inch long, light colored and wingless. Soldier; elongated head with mandibles. supplementary reproductives; wingless and very short, light colored. Primary reproductives or swarmers; Winged and darker than other members. Basically black with wings. These are most often the ones seen by homeowners. They live in colonies underground from which they build tunnels in search of food. Reach food above ground by building mud tubes. Must have moisture for survival. Their diet is wood and other cellulose material. Different rates of growth from egg stage to adult depend on individual species; one queen per colony, which can lay ten of thousands of eggs in her lifetime, but most eggs are laid by supplementary reproductives in an established colony. Termites cause more damage to homes in the U.S. than storms and fire combined. Colonies can contain up to 1,000,000 members.