Arboreal termite nest on a tree branch - commercial and residential termite control in Kailua Kona | Kona Coast Pest Control

Arboreal Termite

Actual Size: Workers/soldiers 3 to 4 mm; Queens 30 to 60 mm

Characteristics: Soldiers have small brown bodies with a pointed beak. Workers have pale heads. The queen is much larger and has a yellow, long body.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Alates/swarmers have wings.

Habitat: Live in trees. Nests can be larger than a basketball.


  • Forage for food in rotting trees.
  • Build tunnels from nests down the tree, helping differentiate their nests from wasp nests.
  • A single colony can have up to thousands or millions of termites.

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Arboreal Termites in Kailua Kona

Arboreal termites usually nest in trees but are known to also create nests in structures made of metal or concrete. They are the most abundant termite species in tropical climates. Arboreal termites are similar to subterranean termites as they can have colonies with millions of insects. The material they consume includes cellulose, found in wood, paper, and cardboard.

Arboreal Termite Habitat

These termites are mostly in tropical climates. They live in trees and build nests that can be confused for wasps. Other species can build nests on the ground or even underground. The nests are built from digested wood and feces. When nests are built in trees, the arboreal termites can build tunnels covered in the same material down the side of the tree to the forest floor. Some nests contain thousands to millions of termites.

Arboreal Termite Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

When under attack, the arboreal termites have a defense mechanism where the soldier termites can discharge a chemical from their snouts called nasute glue. The glue can be irritating to human skin and is described as smelling like turpentine. This mechanism helps keep predators like anteaters away. Arboreal termites are capable of building nests in trees on your property or the side of your home. To prevent or control an arboreal termite infestation, it’s important to enlist the help of a professional termite exterminator.