The Appearance Of Termites

You see some insects crawling around the home, and you’re wondering: “What if they’re not ants? What if they’re termites?” Well, the good news is that they’re not termites. Termite workers will almost never leave the safety of the colony, but you may see termite swarmers flying about, and that may be a cause for concern. Here is what you need to know about the appearance of termites:


The most common termite species in US home infestations are the subterranean termites, which are about ¼ of an inch in length, while the second most common, drywood termites, can reach ½ of an inch. When it comes to swarmers however, they can go up in length to ½ of an inch for all termite species.


Termites are in the same family of insects as cockroaches, so they do bear some resemblance, especially in the way their bodies are shaped. Termite workers do not have a thin waist, like ants, and they have soft bodies, with large heads and powerful jaws. They also have straight antennae. Swarmers share some of these similarities, and you will be able to distinguish them from ant swarmers by their thicker waists and straight antennae. The termite swarmers will also have four wings that are the same length, while ant swarmers will have one pair of wings that is longer than the other.


Termite workers and soldiers are usually pale or cream-colored, and their heads are somewhat darker, with an orange or amber hue. Swarmers on the other hand have dark brown colored bodies, which makes them harder to distinguish from flying ants. Drywood termite workers are set apart from other termite species because their bodies are much lighter in coloration.

How to tell if you have an infestation

Because you will rarely see termite workers out in the open, you have to keep an eye out for other signs of an infestation. Seeing swarmers in the home however, can be a dead giveaway that there is a mature colony somewhere indoors. If you suspect that you have termites, look for mud tubes, which come out of the ground and connect to wood in the home. Infested wood will also look like it is water damaged, and it sounds hollow if you tap it. Alternatively, you can call over a pest control pro to perform an inspection and tell you for sure if you have an infestation. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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