Heterotermitinae are subterranean termites. They are in the family Rhinotermitidae. These termites are usually found in the tropical or semi–tropical areas of the world.

In Australia, the species Heterotermes ferox is found in both rural and urban areas. It often nests next to stumps, poles, or other wood that is touching the soil. It readily attacks wood that has been exposed t the weather or is decaying.

In the West Indies, Heterotermitinae are known as the West Indies subterranean termite. At least three species have been identified: H. cardini (Snyder), H. convexinotatus (Snyder), and H. tenuis (Hagen). These termites are responsible for much of the subterranean termite damage in the region.

Heterotermes species have also been found throughout Central and South America, including Panama, Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador. They have also been reported in several islands in the Caribbean.

The West Indies subterranean termite has been found in a few places in South Florida. This is the only instance of Heterotermitinae in the Eastern United States.

The Desert subterranean termite, Heterotermes aureus (Snyder), is found in California and Arizona. Its range extends into Northern Mexico. It lives in desert plants, including dead cactus. It can also attack posts, fences, and structural wood.

Homeowners often discover these termites when they find dirt tubes descending from overhead. These tubes are found in crawl spaces, basements, and in ceiling rafters of homes. The termites also make holes in sheetrock which they cover with dirt and feces.

Heterotermitinae usually attack the light springwood. They leave the dark summerwood that contains more lignin. The wood that they eat is usually hollowed out along the grain. There is sometimes dirt in the galleries.

These termites often make dirt tubes from the ground to enter buildings. These tubes are often freestanding and can extend more than two feet from the soil. They also build these tubes when they must travel across open areas or in harsh environments. The dirt tubes are signs of their activity.

Experts recommend that homeowners have periodic termite inspections. Termite control professionals can recognize the signs of termite activity. They can also point out landscaping or structural conditions that might allow termites to have easy access to the home