What Does a Termite Look Like?
Termites vary in appearance depending on their caste and species. However, some of the general characteristics include the following:
- Termites are no more than ¼-½”
- They range in color from off-white to dark brown or red in color
- Termites have soft, straight bodies, straight antennae
- Some termites (called swarmers) have wings
Termite Species Characteristics
While termites generally share similar characteristics, there are slight variations among the different species. Dampwood termites are much larger than other types and can have a reddish tint to their brown bodies. Drywood termites can have a yellow-brown color, and wings that range from clear to smokey gray. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, are most often an off-white to dark brown/black color. A professional termite exterminator is the person to go to for help identifying termites by what they look like.
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Termite Identification by Caste
Termite populations are divided up into a caste system based on what job they perform in their colony. These termites can look slightly different:
- Worker termites: Worker subterranean termites have no wings, are about 1/4-inch, and cream-colored.
- Alates (swarmer) termites: These are typically very dark brown in color and have two pairs of wings that are nearly equal in length.
- Soldier termites: Soldier subterranean termites have large mandibles (jaws), and are cream-colored with darker heads.
- Queen termites: The queen has a large, translucent egg-producing chamber on its body and can grow to the size of a human finger.
Need Help Identifying What Termites Look Like?
Termites are often confused with ants, and homeowners will most often see swarmer termites if any at all. If you think you may have termites, it’s best to contact your local termite exterminators for help. A professional knows how to pinpoint what kind of termite you have.