What Do Termites Look Like?

What Do Termites Look Like in Homes?

What a termite looks like often depends on its role in the colony. For example, queens have much larger abdomens than other termites to hold many eggs, while soldiers have mandibles to aid in defense. However, people are most likely to see termite workers and reproductives.

Queen Termite Appearance

Termite Queen with Workers

Worker Termite Appearance

Most colony members are workers. These termites aid in collecting food, building nests, and tending larvae. They have soft, cream-colored bodies about one-fourth inch long. Homeowners may see subterranean termite workers if they split open infested wood, but these pests rarely travel in the open air.

Eastern Subterranean Termites

Reproductive Termite Appearance

Residents are more likely to notice this kind of termite than any other variety. Also called alates or swarmers, they are dark brown to black and measure between one-fourth and one-half inch long. Unlike other castes of termites, these insects have wings and engage in mating flights from February to June.

Termite Swarmer

Termite or Ant?

Because reproductive termites look like flying ants to the untrained eye, many people misidentify them. The key difference between termites and ants is their shape. While ants have narrow midsections, termites have broad bodies with no defined waist.

What Do Termites Look Like in Wood?

Since most of these pests hide inside wood or under the soil, here’s what they look like while feeding on wood.

Worker Termites in Wood

Dealing with Termites

Because people rarely see termites, infestations can continue for long periods of time. Silent and destructive, these pests can create costly damage before homeowners realize a problem exists.

While knowing what termites look like can help identify an infestation, there is no substitute for professional inspection or expert removal from Western Pest Services.