What Does a Termite Look Like?
Termites are best identified by their habits and the damage they cause, but learning what different species and castes look like can help determine the type of infestation you’re dealing with.
Although there are many types of termites throughout the nation, most of them share similar physical qualities:
- Termites grow to be ¼-½ inch in length and range in color from off-white to dark brown or red in color.
- They have soft, straight bodies, straight antennae, and some (swarmers) have wings that enable them to fly
- Different species of termites have specific physical attributes and behaviors that help differentiate them from one another.
- Termites also have castes that separate them by their specific role; each one varies greatly in appearance.
Termite Types and Their Appearances
For the most part, there are two main factors that determine a termite’s appearance: its type and its caste. Dampwood termites are almost always larger than other kinds of termites and often have a reddish tint to their brown bodies. Drywood termites have a yellow-brown colored body as well as transparent or gray wings. Subterranean termites range from an off-white to dark brown/black color, usually depending on the caste. Knowing the differences between these types of termites is essential in identifying which one could be infesting your home.
Termite Caste Characteristics
Each termite colony consists of different castes, wherein termites are assigned to live out their lives performing specific jobs. These castes differ in size, color, and shape but typically hold similar characteristics throughout the types. The main castes and their characteristics are as follows:
- Worker termites: Workers make up the majority of a colony and have an off-white to creamy colored body.
- Alates/Swarmer termites: While these vary in color between species, they all have wings that, after having served their purpose, will be shed.
- Soldier termites: Often confused for ants, soldier termites have large, dark heads with noticeable mandibles.
- Queen termites: The queen termite has a large, translucent egg-producing chamber on its body and can grow to the size of a human finger.
Identifying Termites by Appearance
Termites are often confused with ants, and while homeowners often never see termites whatsoever, it is possible to catch sight of the swarmers. Bottom line, termites are rarely seen, but a professional can learn a lot about the type of infestation your have if the type of termite is known. The differences in appearance between the types and castes is extremely helpful in diagnosing and treating termite activity in your home.
What Does a Termite Look Like? in Atlanta & Knoxville Metros and Surrounding Areas
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