5 Types of Termites: What Do Termites Look Like?

It is a widely accepted fact that there exists a plethora of termites in this world. Interestingly, these termites vary in their size, shape and species type. A majority of these creatures loves to feast on wood, and this process can have severe repercussions for the structure of your home. However, with the advent of science and technology, human beings are equipped with the latest methods to counter their growth. On the other side, by taking a glance at a single termite, the sight of it does not depict fear and awe.

However, a large group of them can pose the severe threat to the foundation of a home. In this context, it is interesting to note that these termites are also known as silent destroyers. It is so because they have the ability to gnaw wood and other wood-related materials in the home. But, if you have a thorough knowledge of the types of termites, then it would be easier for you to control them. Recent research has depicted that each year; termites cause about 6 dollars of loss in the form of property damage.

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?


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.

– 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 Zonestermites 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.

Controlling the growth of termites

termites control

It is a commonly observed phenomenon that there are lots of things that can go seriously wrong for a home. However, the damage to the property caused by a termite is not that straightforward, and this is the reason that you need to be aware of the importance of termite control. For instance, if you cannot see the termites on time, they can inflict severe damage to the property. These little creatures eat wood from the inside and hence make it weak.

If you do not have an active termite control in place, then you are leaving your home unprotected which may affect its overall stability. On the other side, termites would never let you know when they are attacking. For instance, the dry wood termites can attack a wooden structure from the outside without letting the owner know that the structure has become weak.

It is also important to note that the winged termites look like insects and there is little reason to suspect them on the basis of their appearance. If you want to protect your property from the influx of termites, then better start educating yourself about the types of termites. By knowing about their varieties, you would be in an advantageous position to counter their growth.

Some warning signs that suggest infestation of the termites

It is not always possible for ordinary individuals to witness and assess the damage caused by termite population. But, if you are a devoted homeowner, you must still be on the watch out for the infestations caused by these termites. Here is the list of signs that are usually associated with the outbreak of termites.


  • Blisters caused in wooden structures
  • Darkening caused in the wooden structures
  • A bubbling paint that is uneven in nature
  • A wooden structure in the home that sounds hollow
  • Droppings that resemble like sawdust near the nests of the termites
  • Dropped wings lying near doors and the windowsills which indicates that there is an invasion by the termites

The various termites species those are existent nowadays

various termites

By knowing about the species of termites, you are doing your house a world of good. It is so because as the ground warms up, the termite populations embark on the quest of finding a hospitable property. These species cannot withstand heat and warmer climates, and this is the reason they always invade those residential properties that have dampness and have reduced water discharge systems. On the other hand, these termites look quite similar to an ant or a flying insect, and this is the reason there are no such exceptional reasons to suspect them on the basis of their appearance. Here is the list of various types of termites who have the ability to cause damage to the structural design of a property seriously.\

1. Formosan termites 

formosan termites colonies

Source: http://pestworldforkids.org/

It is one of those termite species that have originated in China. Interestingly, this species have the prestige of being one of the most aggressive termite species in the world. They are also known as the most voracious termite species ever known to man. In this context, it is interesting to note that these species of termites are usually organized into substantial underground colonies. They also have the ability to build intricate mud nests inside the walls of human settlements and houses. This species of termites are a bit difficult to control. It is so because they are aggressive and once they go inside a structure, that structure gets doomed.

The Formosan termites are also known by the subterranean species of termites. Quite interestingly, they have three castes in the form of workers, soldiers, and alates. The alates are associated with the reproduction process of the species. They are also known as super termites due to their aggressive nature.

How to identify the Formosan Termites?

You can quickly identify a Formosan termite based on its color. The color of this type of termite ranges from creamy white to brown. In terms of body shape, it is shaped in a long, narrow and oval silhouette. It has got six legs and has antennae. The Formosan Termites usually vary in size from 0.5 inches to 1 inch. They are mainly found in various parts of the world. However, few critical areas where they are located are North and South Carolina and Hawaii.

How these species of termite look?

Close up of Formosan Termite.

Source: http://pestworldforkids.org/

These species of termites have wings that are translucent. Moreover, these wings are covered with small dense hairs. Interestingly, the castes of soldiers that are found in these species have rounded heads that taper towards the front. In this context, it is interesting to note that the Formosan termites are often confused with flying ants. However, if you are aware of the facts & how to identify them, you do not need to worry much. It is so because, with advanced termite control sprays, their growth can be curbed thereby saving your home from the damage.

The signs of infestation of a Formosan Termite

It is interesting to note that you may notice various signs that indicate that there is infestation from the Formosan termites. The preliminary sign that denotes that there is an infestation of the termites is in the form of the fact that you may notice swarmer or the winged termites that are for the purpose of reproduction. However, with proper termite control methods, you can quickly curb their growth.

2. Subterranean termites

Termites Subterranean

It is an interesting fact to note that the secret termites are found in a majority of a state except Alaska. These species of termites usually dwell in underground conditions. It is so because alike other termites, they also love the dampness and moisture in their nest. Interestingly, the colony of subterranean termites may contain up to 2 million members. It is one of those species of termites who have the ability to build mud tubes so that they can secure themselves from open air. In the United States, they are most often referred to as the most destructive species of termites. As per many termite control experts, the best way to curb their growth is to avoid the accumulation of water near the foundation of the home. It is recommended that you should always store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home. On the other hand, it is also vital to note that the homeowners should reduce the amount of humidity in the indoors with the help of proper materials that are deemed suitable.

How to identify the Subterranean Termites?

The Subterranean termites usually have a body color that ranges from creamy white to dark black or brown. This type of species has six legs, and they also possess antennae. The size of these species usually ranges from 0.5 inches to 0.8 inches and they are mostly found in the damp spots near your home. It is a widely observed phenomenon that they are usually observed across the boundary of the United States. On the other side, they have a shape that is narrow, long and oval.

Some exciting habits of the subterranean termites

Termites Subterranean

It is one of those species of termites that have the tendency to build mud tunnels also known as mud tubes. These mud tubes serve the purpose of protecting this termite species from the open air. Besides that, these mud walls also serve the role of transportation of food materials. Hence, it is evident that these mud walls serve a dual purpose. They have scissor-like jaws with the help of which they can gnaw on wood. It is also a commonly observed fact that the subterranean termites feed on materials that contain cellulose.

The type of threat that can be posed to the human beings by these termite species

It is a widely accepted fact that this species of termite is one of the most destructive species of termites. They have jaws that are dangerous and best resemble like that of scissors. Hence, with the help of these jaws, they are able to shred wood into tiny fragments. If they are not treated on time, they have the ability to collapse a vast building. Hence, if you experience that there is a termite infestation and that infestation is caused by the subterranean termites, and then always opts to call the pest control. Moreover, you should also follow some safety tips like not burying wooden strips and wasted wooden planks in your yard.

3. Termites that infest on dry woods

As the name suggests, these dry wood termites usually infest on those varieties of wood that are devoid of moisture. It is one of those species of termites who do not need to come in contact with the soil. These species of termite often establish their nests on wooden materials and wooden wall supports. They are also quite adept in infesting on dead wooden materials. These species are believed to be around for a large number of years, and they can also infest on damp wood if the need arises. For instance, they can also be found near leaky pipes and drains and thereby are most dangerous. If you are on the lookout to curb the growth of the dry wood termites, you have to follow some precautionary measures. For instance, always take care of storing firewood at least 25 feet away from home. You can also prevent their growth by sealing all the cracks and crevices that are located near the foundation of your home.

How to identify a drywood termite?

Drywood Termites


If you want to save your home from these termites, then you have to know specific facts about these species of termites. For instance, the color of these termites ranges from light brown to creamy white. On the other hand, they can grow up to 1 inch and have got six legs. They also have an antenna, and the shape of these species is narrow, long and oval. These types of species are mainly found in Texas and South Carolina. However, they are also found in abundance in various parts of the world including Asia and Africa.

The habits of these species of termites that one should be aware of

You should always be mindful of the fact that the colony of these species of termites can contain up to more than 2500 members. When compared to the subterranean termites, these species of termites do not have a caste system. Interestingly, a majority of work is done by the underdeveloped workers. In this context, it is vital to note that this variety of termite species usually becomes very active on sunny days and also when there is a sudden rise in the temperature levels.

The threats posed by this variety of termite species

It is important to note that this species of termites can easily gnaw through wooden materials. This is the reason that they are quite dangerous to the homeowners. It is so because their house would be at a more significant amount of risk. Hence, as a homeowner, if you do not control these pests on time, you would be at a higher risk of opting for expensive repairs in your home. These types of termites are usually found in materials that comprise dry wood. Moreover, you have to be aware of them as these species can easily be transported from one place to another with the help of broken furniture.

How can you prevent the growth of this species of termites?

These types of termites can be avoided if you keep drywood and firewood away from your home. Besides that, you should always be on the lookout to schedule appointments with companies that are expert in termite control.

4. Conehead termites

conehead termite

This species of termites are native to the Caribbean Islands. Interestingly, their fast arrival in the United States dates back to 2001. You should also be well aware of the fact that these species of termites are also known as tree termites. However, the experts named them as Conehead termites to expel misconceptions that they are only found in trees. These termites are known as the most dangerous species of termites because unlike other termite species; they have the ability to spread through the ground. Moreover, they can also inflict severe damage to the property of the homeowners. If not controlled on time, they can also damage the state of property very severely and can make it worthless in a short period.

How can you identify these Conehead termites?

You can quickly identify the Conehead termites based on their color and type of body. For instance, the color of these species of termites usually ranges from dark brown to white. Moreover, in most of the cases, they are found with brown heads. These species of termites usually have six legs, and they also have antennae. The shape of their body is long and narrow, and moreover, the soldiers have a pear-shaped head.

Some habits of this termite species

termites transport food

It is interesting to note that unlike other species of termites, this termite species do not rely on underground tunnels. Instead, they move above the ground and have the ability to multiply quickly which is often a serious concern for human beings. They also build mud tubes or channels with the help of which they can easily transport food and other materials.

The threats posed by this termite species

As they are not averse to move on the ground like other termites, they have the ability to multiply quickly. This is the reason that they can cause widespread damage to the property. Hence, time has come to make some further research on the types of these termites. It is so because further research would shed light on the methods to prevent them. As these types of termite species are quite dangerous, you need to take proper precautions for them.

5. The damp wood termites

damp wood termites

As it is indicative of the name, this creature of termites is the ones that have the ability to infest on moist wooden structure. These species also have the ability to drill holes in the wooden structure. Quite interestingly, when compared to the other termite species, these termites are quite larger in size. As they infest mainly on areas that have high moisture content, they are mainly found on various coastal areas. Interestingly, they are also found in desert areas. Hence, if you think that they are only ideal to be found on desert and semi-arid areas, then you are completely wrong. Interestingly, this variety of termites can be quite easily controlled. It is so because they do not multiply rapidly and this is the reason one always has the chance to curb their growth.

How can you identify the dampwood termites?

If you are on the lookout to save your house from the invasion of termites, then you should be well aware of the facts that are necessary to identify them. For instance, the color of this species of termites usually ranges from brownish to creamy white. Moreover, this termite species usually have 6 legs. They also have an antennae and the shape of their body is narrow. In many areas of the world, they are also seen in a body shape that best resembles a narrow and oval shape. It is also vital to note that they are also found in Pacific and other coastal areas.

The habitat of this species of termite

damp wood termites

It is important to note that the dampwood termites are usually found in stumps and logs. They can also be found in abundance in various types of fences. They are also quite abundant in poles that are made of wood.    

The habits of this termite species that one should be aware of nowadays

It is important to note that alike the drywood termites, the dampwood termites also does not have a separate caste system in place. The workers of this colony of termites usually have the responsibility to feed the king and queen. They also feed the soldiers so that they can invade other areas. These species of termites have the ability to create a series of chambers in the wood. These chambers are usually interconnected as if they are sandpapered.

The threats posed by this species of termites

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites

It is important to note that this species of termites usually are not attracted by the dry wooden structures. However, that should not imply that you are taking fewer measures to counter them. As a concerned homeowner, you should always eliminate the dampness from the wooden materials. Hence, by keeping in mind the different kinds of termite species, you would be at the freedom to save the foundation of your home.

By looking at the above-mentioned information, it is quite clear that if termites are not controlled on time, then you may face serious problems. This is the reason as a concerned homeowner, you should always keep yourself updated about the various types of termites that can invade your home.

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