What Do Termites Look Like?

In some ways, termites are almost like mythical creatures; many have seen their damages, but few have actually witnessed one in place. Homeowners who suspect their home may have been damaged by termites should learn what termites look like in order to prevent further catastrophe.

Generally speaking, termites look similar to ants, only bigger and not as visible. Although there are many varieties of termites that also look very different in individual life stages, most termites have two distinct body parts: a head and a body. As opposed to ants, which many homeowners confuse them with, termites lack a thorax on their lower abdomen while remaining larger in size.

Despite physical similarities with ants, termites are actually categorized under the same family as cockroaches. They consume wood from the inside out as their primary source of food and rarely prey on people or other insects. Termites also build their nests in obscure locations, such as underground or high above trees. Although they are also able build mounds from dirt, feces, and food, termites’ nests are sturdier and bear greater resemblance to wasp nests than those of ants.

Here are other ways to recognize termites:

  • Look at the antennae. Termites can be distinguished by their straight and beaded antennae.
  • Winged termites also have 4 wings that are even and longer than those of ants.
  • Termites don’t bite. If you happen to have skin contact with one and not get bitten, it is a probably a termite.
  • Worker termites are characterized by their translucent white color.

How to Spot Termite Damage

Once you’ve successfully recognized what termites look like, it’s time to survey the damage. Termites have insatiable appetites wood containing cellulose, their main source of food. As previously mentioned, termites eat their way inside out. They form channels inside wooden structures, which is exactly why many homeowners take so long identifying termite problems – they’re nearly impossible to see from the outside.

Look for trails of small feces or wood sanding around small holes. If you have any trees or tree stumps close to your home, check for channels and decay around the roots, as termites enjoy building their nests around here as well.

Any termite problem is probably best handled by a professional exterminator who knows where to look for termites and get to the heart of the problem. For the safety and protection of yourself and your home, call on a pest extermination service today!

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