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Subterranean termites live in migratory shelter tubes - sometimes called mud tubes because they are made from grains of sand and drops of fecal matter. These tubes are air conditioned; if it gets too hot, they bore a hole through the wall to allow air to flow. At these holes, you will find Soldier termites guarding the hole(s). These soldiers have mandables that will grasp and kill an enemy, which consists of mainly ants, which are cousins. Sounds like some families we know, eh? While soldiers are protecting the hole, the workers are hard at work filling in the hole. Solders will give their lives to protect the colony, which may not sound like some families we know.
You can see that wood does not need to be in soil contact to attract termites or become infested. On the bottom of the double floor joist, you can see migratory drop tubes. Give them enough time, they may build the drop tube back down to the ground to allow for quicker access to their subterranean nest. This nest could be five feet down and fifty feet away - or more.
In this picture you can see migratory tubes from soil to the wood girder. One tube may be a return tube from the girder - then again it could be a double access tube from the soil. Imagine a tube as a roadway. The more traffic there is, the wider the road.
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