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Termite Identification (Including Members of the Colony)

May 29, 2018


Termites are very small insects, roughly the size of ants and they resemble them too in many features. In fact, recognizing a termite may be quite confusing. Also, there are a lot of different species of termites that are prevalent. Hence, the best control method for a species can also differ significantly. Understanding the main differences between ants and termites can be a good starting point for knowing all about this insect. Gradually, one can also start identifying all the different termites that may abound within an area.

Due to the secretive ways of their operation and the small size, they may not be easily traced. Termite damage signs can be a lot more visible than the insect itself and therefore spotting it may not be the easiest thing to do.

Termite Identification  


Termites generally stay tucked away deep within the ground or into some sort of wood in which they have found a comfortable shelter, also nibbling and breaking it away slowly in the process. An owner of a property may not know about their presence until the point of time some sort of damage is discovered. Termites can stay sufficiently safe for years before any type of evidence emerges. A visible sign of a termite damage can only alarm a property owner regarding its presence and that can take sufficient years to materialize.

Similarly, detecting them with the naked eye may also be tough. The flying variant of the species is only about 1/4th inch in size. That is only as big as a pencil eraser and therefore recognizing may not be very easy.

After having mentioned some specific differences also, the above mentioned two points enumerate why they may not be very easily identified by property owners. These are the real reasons why they go undetected for years. However, if there is an increased awareness, things can be a lot better regarding their identification.

As already mentioned, there can be many types of termites that are present and termite identification may have to be done correctly for recognizing each of them. Some termites can be particularly quite damaging and most of them may enjoy living in moist and warm areas where they can live in abundance. There are many species of termites that may be there at different places and depending upon geographical and seasonal conditions, a particular termite species can be found.

Like any other pest, correct identification is the key to effectively neutralize them. It is because control methods are based on each species and how they can be neutralized. Employing a correct prevention technique is also important to ensure that once they have been driven out from an area, they may not come back and regroup at the place. Hence, future termite issues can also be taken care of in this way. There are many different methods of prevention but identification is the key to success.

What Do Termites Look Like?


People generally ask ‘what do termites look like?’ Do termites truly look like ants?This is a question that should be answered very carefully. Termites resemble flying ants very closely and can be easily confusing.  In fact, a layman can easily mix between both of them. The contrast between these two nuisances will extraordinarily affect the kind of administration expected to control them in your property. The presumed issues with termites end up being an issue with woodworker ants or terminate ants since they look so comparative.  Also, just by merely looking at them without any help, one may not be able to differentiate easily.

Fire ants and carpenter ants very closely resemble termites due to which many times they are confused with them and a termite protection plan may go awry. This class of insects very much resemble each other and therefore recognizing them becomes very important so that a protection plan can be devised accordingly.

Careful differentiation is very essential because only after identifying, an effective pest control method can be arrived at. The type of needed pest control service is, therefore, very much dependent upon correct identification and this can impact the complete process.

The behavior and appearance of termites and ants are slightly different. For people who would like to find out facts and how to identify them, this section can be very useful. We look here into these differences to clearly understand them and get a clear idea for identifying termites.

Search for disposed of wings around window ledges – Flying termites (otherwise called swarmers) are regularly mistaken for flying ants because both their winged mating cycles happen amid the springtime. In any case, you need to know that the flying ants do not shed their wings. On the off chance that you have seen this creepy flying crawlies in your property, you can be genuinely sure you have recognized termites if you’ve additionally discovered disposed of wings. Search for contrasts fit as a fiddle – The picture underneath should enable you to recognize vital contrasts fit as a fiddle of termites and winged ants (termite is on the right, subterranean insect on the left):

Have you seen termites in your home or work environment? As these creepy crawlies are exceedingly damaging, you ought to get proficient exhortation and termite control from Ehrlich immediately. Our termite control masters know how to spot termite eggs, hatchlings and which kinds of termites may cause the harm.

Indeed, even furnished with the above data, it might, in any case, be difficult to make a valid recognizable proof utilizing the naked eye. Remember those termite swarmers are a just about ¼ inch long – about an equal size from a pencil eraser.

Distinguishing proof is made much more troublesome by the way that termites regularly stay concealed away in properties for a considerable length of time without the proprietor’s learning. As of now specified, the primary pointer of a potential issue is normally public confirmation of termite harm.

Here are the means by which to build up the general contrasts in appearance and conduct amongst ants and termites:

– Midsection

 Termites have a straight midriff, while ants have a squeezed abdomen.

– Reception apparatuses

Termites, have straight receiving wires while ants have twisted radio wires.

– Waist

The waist of a termite can be expected to be straight whereas, in case of an ant, the waist will be pinched.

– Wing length

In termites, the front and back wing length are the same whereas ants have different lengths of wings.

– Antennae

The antennae of termites are straight while in case of ants, these are usually bent.

– Discarded Wings Near Access Zones

termites wing

The mating season of both termites and ants occur at the same time, i.e., spring is the season when both these insects may be abundantly seen. It is due to the fact that they mate during this time and once again, they can be easily confused with each other. Mating takes place in the air as both these insects fly above and try to mate from different colonies. Flying ants do not scrap its wings. Therefore, if anyone notices discarded wings near to access points in a property, especially doors and windows, chances are high that termite colonies will be located nearby because they usually break off their wings once mating is complete.

The Body Shape is Also Quite Different – There is a remarkable difference in the body shape of these insects. Whereas an ant resembles a typical insect feature with a demarcated head, thorax and abdomen, the demarcation of each body part in a termite is not very pronounced. The wings of an ant may not cover its whole body while looking from the top whereas the same holds true for a termite. These are some of the clear differences that a person can notice when looking at a termite and these points can form good termite identification methods.

After identification, it is very important to take a call regarding their elimination because they can be highly destructive and can devour wood and other structural entities within a short time. Identification and precaution are the only ways to effectively deal with them.

Termites Reproduction

People who have a query ‘what do termites look like?’ may have sufficiently been answered through the above sections and furthermore, we shall look into them in greater details. The life-cycle of a termite starts from the egg and therefore recognizing it is very essential. Later on, a colony is formed and within it, there are alates, king, queen, soldiers and workers. All of them can be identified if proper awareness is there. Therefore, we try to analyze them one by one.

Members of the Colony or Termite colonies:


* termite eggs

termites eggs

A termite activity cannot be more strong than the presence of its eggs within an area. While identifying larvae or an adult termite can always point to a termite infestation, the presence of eggs can surely call for an effective termite control service so that they can be handled in a correct way.

A queen termite can live up to 25 years and has the ability to lay 1000 eggs in a day. Therefore, a whopping 9 million eggs can be laid by it during its lifetime. Hence, one queen can help in establishing at least 30 odd colonies.

Moreover, termite eggs are very small but can be noticed with the naked eye. Problem is that they are generally hidden smartly by them so that without any professional help, these may not be easily detected. They are usually translucent, light brown or white in color. They look like caviar but can be of smaller size than them. The eggs are placed in a centralized location and can often be found inside the wooden galleries or the mud tubes that they create.

When a colony is in its early stages of development, the king and queen take care of the nymphs and eggs. Moreover, the queen’s ability to hatch eggs increases during her lifetime and hence more colonies can thrive in the process.

While looking at a termite infestation, one may come across heaps of white powder, that may be a sign of its eggs. However, an expert’s advice can always be beneficial.

* The Alates


Termite identification of alate termites can be one of the easiest due to the presence of wings. They can easily be confused with moths as they look very similar. However, on close scrutiny, it can be found out that these are quite different than moths and they can be easily recognized by their body features. These are mostly responsible for the reproduction of the species and takes flight for doing so. Males and females mate in the air and later start their own colonies.

* Termite King and Queen

queen termites

The kings and queens start as alates and later leave their nests for making their own colonies. The queens look after the reproduction while the kings are mostly engaged in taking care of duties of the colony. Also, they may not be very easily found.

* Termite Soldiers

termites soldier

These are the main defense providers to the colony. They help in defending their colonies against predatory attacks from ants and other such insects. They are easily recognizable as they have large jaws and can spray sticky fluids from them. The body of soldiers can be dark brown to black and have an orange head.

* Termite Workers

termites workers

When we talk about termites, their facts and how to identify them, we generally speak about this variant that is the most commonly visible within a colony. They are the ‘doers’ and are in maximum numbers. They carry out almost all the work within a colony except mating and providing defense. They dig the nest and create tunnels and are responsible for the feeding of all other termites in the colony. It is due to them that people experience so much damage to a property.

The Significance of Winged Termites

termites wings

For all those people who like information on termites, facts and how to identify them can be particularly amused to see a winged termite due to the fact that they can be easily recognized from all the rest. Winged termites are also known as swarmers. The main work of swarmers is to mate and develop new colonies. During the reproductive process, the wings help them to mate successfully and once mating is over, they shed their wings off. Presence of swarmers inside a property can be concluded to the fact that the property is heavily infested with termites. Flying termites can usually be found during the mating season near to window seals and external light sources. It is due to the fact that light attracts them considerably.

During the favorable season, swarmers leave their nests and start taking the ‘nuptial flight’. Males and females of different colonies fly together in the air and try to mate. As soon as mating is complete, they land back on the ground and start developing their own colonies. They then become the new kings and queens of these colonies.

Therefore, only a glance may be enough to recognize them from the wingless termites and it can be one of the easiest to find out amongst all the different types.

Some Useful Facts Related to Termites




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For people who would like to know some facts and how to identify them, this section can be quite useful because it lists out some basic facts related to them that can be helpful for their identification.

As we all know by now that they are silent destroyers that live secretly deep down in the basement or in a furniture and may not show any sign of life in the beginning. As time passes, the damage unleashed by them can show up and that can be signs of warning for a property owner.

Irrespective of the type of termite and whether they eat differently or not, all of them require the following items for survival.

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Moisture
  • Suitable temperature

Unfortunately, every home can offer these things in ample amounts and that is the reason of their infestation.

Moreover, there are certain facts that can be helpful for termite identification and can aid a person in finding out all about them. Some of these facts include the following.

1) They tend to be more active while the outside weather is warm


Termites are usually more active during the summer months as they work during those seasons to store food so that it can be used during the winter months. However, they can be a year-round menace where the weather is warm throughout the year. There can be more species of termites in geographies and countries that are particularly warmer.

2) They can Easily Enter Through Small Openings

small termites

As is their size, they can easily make their way through a crack that can be as big as a penny. That may seem small but then, it can be enough for a termite to enter a property. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a strict vigil near to the foundation so that if any crack is observed, it should be immediately addressed in a proper way. Similarly, door and window cracks should also be sealed in the most correct way to eliminate any chance of their build up.


Going through the article, one can see that termite identification can be done through a number of ways if there is sufficient interest among the people. A high level of awareness can be the most important thing in identifying them. It is also very important to ensure that if they are there in a property, they should be found out as soon as possible. This way, effective planning can be done to eliminate them and the damage made by them can be kept to a minimum. Therefore, proper identification is the key to getting a termite-free property.

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