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Get Answers To What Do Termites Look Like?

Feb 5, 2008
Getting the answer to what do termites look like should be the concern of every home owner. This is because termites can strike almost anywhere and when they do, they are difficult to get rid of and can cause damage to property. For some though, termite identification does not come easily. So what do termites look like?

What Do Termites Look Like?

The answer to the question what do termites look like depends on the species and type of termite. There are more than 2000 species of termites and there are two major types, dry wood and ground or subterranean termites. Termites however share some similar features that differentiate them from other insects like ants.

Your primary concern should be ground or subterranean termites because they are the ones that may live underground and move through mud tubes to your home. Ground termites can have anywhere from thousands to millions of members. Unless you identify them and have them properly and expertly exterminated, they will keep on eating your wood and furniture.

Termites basically subsist on cellulose or wood based products including paper. Some homeowners get a clue that they have termites if they notice some woodwork with eaten up sections. You would have a better chance though of answering the question what do termites look like if you study the features of the different colony members.

Workers

The lowest level in the hierarchy are the worker termites. However, they are also usually quite numerous. This is because they are the ones who forage for food for everyone else, groom the other members of the community, care for the eggs and build tunnels. They are creamy white in color with straight antennae and bodies. They therefore resemble grains of rice with legs. Since they do most of the dirty work, they are the ones easily spotted by humans when wood or mud tunnels are broken off.

Soldiers

What do termites look like from the soldier level? Termite soldiers are the defenders of the colony and may be seen when tunnels or wood areas are exposed. They have large light orange heads that carry sturdy pinchers for crushing. Some species have holes on their foreheads from which they release chemicals to suppress would be invaders. They are larger than workers but just like workers, they have straight, whitish bodies.

Swarmers or Reproductives

Swarmers or reproductives have four wings that are of the same size and are longer than their bodies. Unlike workers however, they have darker colored bodies. Swarmers usually separate from the colonies from which they were born and look for other places with which to establish new colonies. These swarmers eventually grow to become new queens and kings.

Mud Tubes

If you find it hard to identify and answer what do termites look like, consider relying on the evidence of the termite's presence in your home instead. Aside from eaten up wood, you should also look for mud tunnels or tubes that may stick on some wooden parts of your house. Some tunnels may also rise up from the ground.
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