Termite Identification: What A Termite Looks Like

By: Don Pellis


A home can definitely do without carpenter ants and worker termites - two of the most destructive pests that can destroy a home. Identifying which is which however is important for you to get the right help and treatment. Although a specialist normally knows what a termite looks like, your early detection can help provide immediate and proper attention.

A Subterranean Termites

Not everyone knows what a subterranean termite looks like but it is important to know exactly what they look like because they can cause serious damage to your home. There are many different species of termites which may further muddle your idea of how a termite looks like. Subterranean termites however are the most common species found in homes. They usually feed on wood and paper based products and to the unaware, every termite looks like it can harm your precious library or furniture. Your major concern however should be the worker termites.

The subterranean termite colony is divided into several groups: soldier termites, reproductives or swarmers and the workers. Not every termite looks like a grain of rice but a lot of them do. Soldiers however have mandibles while reproductives have wings. The worker termite looks like a reproductive but is smaller and has no wings. They are the most numerous in a colony and are the main wood eaters.

Swarmer Ants and Termites

The presence of swarmer termites is usually one of the first signs that there may be a termite infestation in your home. This is because swarmers are the ones who propagate termite colonies. Some think that a swarmer termite looks like a flying ant. The truth is that there are major differences.

The body of an ant is usually divided into a head, a slim abdomen and a thorax. A termite looks like it only has a head and a straight body.

As far as looks are concerned, both termites and ants share the same number of wings: four. Ants however have longer front than rear wings and have apparent vein marks. Termites have four wings of equal length that are far longer than the body and do not have vein marks.

While ants have slightly bent antennae that may end in some sort of a small club, termites on the other hand have beaded antennae that do not bend and have no club-like ends and point away from the body.

Where Swarmers Stay

Swarmer termites outside your house does not call for much alarm. These swarmers may simply have been blown by the wind. Swarmers are also not the main termite wood eaters. You should be a little concerned though if you notice a number of swarmer ants flying away from your house and from cracks, windows and woodwork. You may have some form of termite infestation.

Getting Help

Termites are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Extensive infestations may not be effectively and safely treated by just gas or ordinary insect spray. You may have to ask for some expert help. Experts may use chemical treatment in which termicide is applied on wood and other house areas to prevent termites from invading the house structure. The baiting technique may also be used in which chemicals are spread throughout the colony through wood baits carrying chemicals.

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Find out what a termite looks like. It may just save your home and property! Call the top termite control company nearest you.

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