Termites are hungry insects that break down plant fibers or cellulose and recycle decayed trees into soil. Many people find it difficult to distinguish between ants and termites, so if you think you may have a termite infestation in your home, it’s essential to know what they look like.
So, what do termites look like? All termites have physical traits which can help you to distinguish them from ants. The antennae of the termite have the appearance of a string of beads, and their back legs are rounded. Worker and soldier termites don’t have eyes.
Subterranean termites nest underground or beneath the soil surface. The most common structural pests are the Eastern, Western and Formosan termites. Other destructive termites include the dry wood and damp wood variety.
Native Eastern subterranean soldier termites have rectangular shaped heads and powerful jaws protruding from their heads.
The Formosa solider termites’ head is darker and oval in shape. These termites have spread to South Eastern U.S, California and Hawaii, and cause extensive damage every year.
Reproductive termites look completely different from worker or soldier termites in that they have wings which lie flat against their back when they’re at rest. They have functional eyes and are darker in color. They have the characteristic straight antennae, rounded abdomen and thick waist as opposed to the small waist and slightly pointed abdomen of the ant.
Eastern subterranean reproductive termites swarm during the day, and winged Kings and Queens are dark brown or black.
Formosan reproductive subterranean termites swarm later in the day, from dusk until midnight, and also later in the season, between April and June. These termites are lighter in color and their bodies are yellowish brown with smoky colored wings. They are also larger than the Eastern subterranean termites.
Termite Queens look completely different from workers and soldiers, as they have an expansive stomach which increases as her egg laying capacity increases.
Dry wood termites live in small colonies and nest in dry sound wood. They produce dry fecal pellets and it’s the accumulation of these pellets which indicate there’s a presence of dry wood termites in your home.
Subterranean termites need moisture to survive, so moisture in walls or wood structures are great breeding grounds.
It’s important to know what termites look like so that you can distinguish them from other pests. Dealing with an infestation in the early stages can save you a great deal of expense and inconvenience.