What Do Termites Look Like?
August 16, 2013
Think you’re seeing termites? It’s possible, but it could also be ants as termites and some ants act in a similar manner. If you simply have ants inside your Illinois, Indiana or Kentucky home, these are usually only nuisance pests (the exception being carpenter ants) and you don’t need to panic. But if you’re seeing termites inside your home, immediate action needs to be taken, as these pests are damaging to the structure of your home and can eventually cost you thousands of dollars in home repairs. The pros at Action Pest Control would like to offer a few tips to help you identify the different castes of termites you may see, so that if you do suspect they are a problem for you, you can identify them quickly and take action fast!
What do termites look like?
This isn’t a simple question to answer, as there are different castes of termites that all look a little different. The termite that we see in our tri-state service area is the eastern subterranean termite; this is the most widely distributed termite species in North America and it tends to build its colonies underground, a short distance from the wood that it feeds on. Here we have outlined some of the termite basics, but if you are looking for termite pictures, check out our termite identification page!
Worker termites: These make up the majority of the colony; they are both males and females that do not lay eggs, but they are responsible for feeding the other members of the colony. They are approximately 1/8 of an inch long and appear to be milky-white to yellowish in color with soft bodies. They are the only ones in the colony that can digest cellulose materials, so they process it in their gut and then pass the food onto juveniles, soldiers and other termites within the colony. These are the termites that you would probably see inside your home, destroying your wood.
Termite swarmers: These are the reproductive members of the colony. They have wings that allow them to fly up out of the colony and look for a mate with the intent of reproducing and establishing new colonies. They are approximately 3/8 of an inch in length, including their wings. Termite swarmers are usually dark brown or black and are the insects that are most often confused with flying ants.
Termite soldiers: These termites are the defenders of the colony. They are equipped with large, hard heads that have powerful mandibles with either teeth or hooks (these resemble the mandibles possessed by earwigs). They use these as weapons against enemies like ants and will open and close their jaws in a scissor-like movement to attack and kill invading insects. This caste of termites varies in size from species to species.
Termite queens: The queen is the largest member of the colony and she can reach up to four inches long! The queen cannot actually move on her accord; her body is disproportionate, with a very small head and a very large abdomen. The queen spends her time laying eggs and the worker termites will carry the eggs that she lays to safe places within the colony.
Seeing termites inside your home is usually quite uncommon. This shy insect usually has ways of keeping out of sight, building mud tunnels along foundation walls to travel in and secretly eating the wood inside your home’s structure. There are usually very few signs of termites in your home when the infestation is still small; when a termite population grows larger and the damage becomes severe is when the outward signs of a termite problem usually show up. You may notice wood that appears sagging, paint that looks blistered and if a termite swarm has happened inside your home, you may see dead swarmer termites and their shed wings.
If you suspect termites inside your home, the best option is to contact the Indianapolis pest control professionals at Action Pest Control. Our termite control services include a comprehensive inspection to locate the problem and treatment with Termidor, America’s number 1 termite defense product. Our termite control system also includes a three-month termite elimination inspection, an annual inspection and a money-back guarantee and damage warranty should the problem return. This is the most comprehensive termite control service you can get in the Midwest; we don’t just do termite extermination- what we do is so much more than extermination- it’s the ability to recognize possible termite problems before they arise and customizing a long-term termite control and protection plan to keep you termite free now and in the future.
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