We report on the identification and characterization of two dinucleotide, two trinucleotide and eight tetranucleotide microsatellite DNA loci isolated from the European subterranean termite Reticulitermes santonensis. We tested the loci on 51–92 individuals from 46 colonies from different regions of France. Eleven loci were polymorphic with 2–8 alleles per locus and low observed heterozygosities (0.10–0.48). We also tested the loci on 17–20 individuals from 10 colonies in the closely related North American species R. flavipes and found significantly more alleles (2–9 alleles per locus) and higher observed heterozygosities (0.15–0.80) than in R. santonensis. The lower observed heterozygosities in R. santonensis are consistent with higher levels of inbreeding in these colonies due to the presence of numerous inbred replacement reproductives.