What Do Termites Look Like?

September 20, 2017

termites feeding on wood

The most destructive termites are never seen--or heard. That is because they live in the ground or deep inside the wood they are feeding on. These termites are called subterranean termites and they cost property owners in the United States billions of dollars each year. But, they aren't always hidden. And, if you ever see one, it is important to know what you're looking at.

There are a few types of termites in a termite colony. You are probably familiar with them. The queen sits in the heart of the colony, along with her king, producing offspring like crazy. You are not likely ever to see either of these two once they have established their nest--unless you're digging up your backyard to put in a pool or something.

Another type of termite you probably know about is the worker termite. These are tiny, pale insects that come to feed on your home. But, they're sneaky about it. They can tunnel through the ground as much as the distance of an entire football field to feed on the wood of your house. And, when they feed, they'll do it in a way that keeps them protected from the drying effects of the air and sun. So, knowing what these termites look like is not all that useful.

A termite colony also has soldier termites that are produced for the purpose of protecting the nests from predators. These look like worker termites--pale skin, six legs, two antennae--but their heads are much larger and are a dark orange color. But the only way you're likely to see soldier termites is if you're tearing out a wall in your home.

So, what are the termites you're likely to see? They're called swarmers. These are male and female reproductives that are created for the purpose of establishing new nests. They are tiny, black insects with long white wings. In fact, their long wings, with their rounded ends, help to easily distinguish these tiny pests from ant swarmers.

2 Things You Need To Know About Termite Swarmers

  • You're not going to see them for long. Swarms don't stay together for very long. Those reproductives have a job to do and they don't waste any time. So, you may only see the shed wings they leave behind after they mate.

  • They are signs of a current infestation. When swarmers appear inside or outside of a home, people sometimes mistake them for an impending infestation. But they are actually a warning sign of a current mature infestation on--or inside--your property.

If you're seeing termites, it is never good. Call a professional and get a detailed inspection of your property to assess the situation. The last thing anyone needs is termite damage. Fortunately, termite damage is preventable. For information on how you can protect your property or to set up service, reach out to Innovative Pest Control today.  

Tags: subterranean termites | termite control | termite inspection |

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