What Does a Termite Look Like? A Handy Guide to Telling Them Apart from Ants

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Termites and ants are both small insects of relatively similar size. This has often led to confusion when attempting to differentiate the two species. This confusion can prove costly when it comes to extermination efforts, as the strategies and techniques to deal with the two different kinds of insects are quite different. So if you have been wondering what does a termite look like, read on and get some answers about things to look for:
• Discarded Wings – One major difference between termites and ants is that flying ants to not discard their wings during mating season, but termites do. In particular, check windowsills, doorways, and other places where the shed wings may possible accumulate; if you spot wing piles, you almost certainly have a termite issue to deal with.
• Differences in Body Shape – For those wondering what does a termite look like, an in-depth examination of the body shape of an insect can provide a number of clues. For example, the antennae of termites are straight, and look like a string of little beads. The antennae of ants on the other hand have a pronounced bend in them. Termites also do not have a thorax or waist section like ants do – their middle area is just straight instead of pinching in.
• Visible Damage – Unfortunately for many wondering what does a termite look like, they may never even see the insects at all. In many cases, the first inkling a property owner will have that they may be suffering from termites is noticing visible damage to their property. These insects are able to remain hidden for years, quietly eating away at the inside of a home or business.
termite control
• Different Termite Species – Last but not least, don’t forget there are different species of termites in different geographical areas. Eastern, Western, and Formosan termites are all variants of subterranean termites, the most common variant, but dry and dampwood varieties of termite also exist, among others.

subterranean terimte and worker termite

Picture of live subterranean termite swarmer and worker termites

So, what does a termite look like? The answer is basically that ‘it depends’. You’ll need to know the region you’re talking about, which species are normally present, their preferred diet, and a variety of other things to make a specific diagnosis. To identify that termites in general are present though, keep an eye out for the actual damage they cause with their eating.

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