Termites are known as the silent destroyers, and for good reason. These small but mighty pests can be busy working behind the walls, doors, floors, and other parts of your house, unbeknownst to you, and cause extreme damage. In fact, the damage that termites can cause can be so extensive that they have been responsible for rendering entire buildings unsafe to access. So, what do termites look like? Keep reading for some handy tips that you can use to identify termites.

What do Termites Look Like?

A termite infestation is a homeowner’s worst nightmare and oftentimes, people are completely unaware that their properties have been infiltrated by these pests until the damage has become so severe and widespread. For that reason, if you own a home, knowing how to identify termites is extremely important. Knowing the signs of termites can be the difference between preventing an infestation and having to deal with extensive – and expensive – repairs due to termite damage.

With that said, however, trying to identify termites is often easier said than done. Termites can look a lot like ants, and as such, many homeowners often dismiss termites for ants. As you can imagine, this can lead to serious problems.

An Overview of Termite Appearance

  • Size: Termites can range in size from 1/8 of an inch to 1 inch long
  • Color: The color of termites can vary from white to brown to black, and depends on the type and age of the termite
  • Characteristics: Termites have two sets of equally long wings, three body segments, and straight antenna

Termite Color

There are several different types of termites and they aren’t all the same color; in other words, termites vary in color. For instance, some species, such as dampwood and conehead termites, have dark heads with cream-colored bodies. On the other hand, Formosan, subterranean, and drywood termites are usually light brown or cream.

Not only does termite color vary from species to species, but it can also vary within the same species. Termite color can change with age. For example, young termites can be cream-colored and almost translucent in appearance, while older adults of the same species are solid in color; solid brown or black, for instance.

Termite Size

While there are several different species of termites in the United States and they do vary in size, generally speaking, all varieties of termites are small. On average, these pests range in size from about 1/8 of an inch to 1 inch long. Again, the size can vary within the same species of termites according to age. For example, younger termites are obviously smaller than fully mature termites.

Termite Wings

At certain times of the year, colonies of termites produce swarmers (also known as “alates”). These are the winged adults that are in charge of reproducing. These reproductive termites use their wings to fly away from their colonies to reproduce.

Oftentimes, homeowners confuse swarmer termites with flying ants, as the two do have a similar appearance. However, if you look closely enough, there are distinct differences.

Swarmers have two sets of wings on their bodies, and the wings are equal in length, while the two sets of wings on flying ants are different lengths.

Termite Appearance

In addition to the color, size, and wings, termites can be differentiated from ants by their overall appearance. For instance, winged termites have a straight waist, while the waists of flying ants are pinched in the middle. Additionally, the antenna between these two insects vary. Swarmer termites have straight antennae while flying ants have bent antennae.

Termite Inspection

If you suspect you have termites, use the above-mentioned description and closely examine them to determine if, in fact, that is what they are. If you aren’t sure or you aren’t comfortable doing so, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact a professional pest control expert.

Contact ABC Termite and Pest Control in Omaha and Lincoln, NE to talk with a termite control professional for a termite inspection.

Additional Information: Termite Infestations

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