The Eastern Subterranean Termite, Reticulotermes flavipes, is one of the most destructive termite pests in the US. This termite builds multiple interconnected galleries in wood. When nesting in a wooden structure, multiple interconnected galleries require substantially more chewing of the wood to create tunnels and hollow out space for new galleries. If the termite colony made a single gallery, the termites would be easier to locate and damage to be repaired restricted in location. However, Reticulitermes flavipes makes multiple galleries, sometimes abandoning the original location to another remote site.
Why do these termites build multiple galleries? There are multiple hypotheses, but no definitive answer. It may be a strategy to escape pathogens that can contaminate a nest area. It may be to locate to a better food source or closer to water. In nature, feeding by these termites is primarily on dead trees and logs. Creation of multiple interconnected galleries allows numerous smaller pieces of wood to be colonized and through interconnections the colony can grow to a size unlimited by available food.