What Do Termites Look Like? – Termite Identification And Control

What Do Termites Look Like? – Termite Identification And Control

Termites can be a nightmare to any homeowner as they are one of the most destructive pests. They can cause a lot of damage to the property as they have a never-ending appetite for wood, and thus knowing what do termites look like becomes vital. 

This is essential as when you know what they look like, you will not confuse them with other pests like ants. It will, in turn, help you in easy and early control of this damaging pest before it harms your property. The good thing is that the answer to the question of what do termites look like is simple. 

In the article, we will answer your question of what do termites look like and other aspects like how to get rid of termites. 

What Do Termites Look Like?

The first step to protecting your property from these damaging pests is to know what do termites look like. This is also essential as there are different termite species that require different methods for controlling. 

One thing which may be a problem for you is that the termites look like ants, and thus you may confuse the two. Thus you should know the basic subtle differences between them, which, if you observe closely, will help you identify them easily. Some things for termites identification are:

  • One of the first differences you can notice between the ants and termites is that their termites have a straight waist/abdomen. On the other hand, the ants have a pinched/squeezed waist. 
  • Termites have straight antennae-like radio wires, whereas the ants have twisted antennae. 
  • The flying termites have the same size wings, whereas the wing size of the ants differs from one to another variety. 
  • The color can also help you identify the termites, although they may come in various colors. One thing which will help you is that the soldier and worker termites are mostly in clear or creamy white colors, whereas the ants never have this color shade. 

These things will help you find the answer to your question of what do termites look like and differentiate them from ants. 


Termites have basically three main species which you need to worry about. These are:

  • Subterranean Termites
  • Dampwood Termites
  • Drywood Termites

In these three species also there are groups that separate the termites according to their role in the colony of termites. These are:

  • The swarmers or reproductives have wings, and they can fly. On the other hand, the soldier termites have mandibles and large heads. The worker termites look somewhat similar to ants and have a cream color. For identification, it is easy to do it by the place of the infestation. 
  • In the indoor areas, you find dry wood termites, mainly in the areas like eaves and attic. The dry wood termites, also like the other species of the termites, don’t require soil in close proximity for infesting any structure. 
  • In places like the basements, both Formosan and subterranean termites can be found. The Formosan termites usually swarm the areas between the months of April and July. While the subterranean termites generally swarm and between the moths of January and May. 
  • In the outdoor areas at the bottom areas of the structure, you can find subterranean termites. They are more common in areas where the wood meets the soil. Formosan swarmers may congregate in enormous numbers around the outdoor lightings. 
  • The damp wood termites are more common in coastal areas and require lots of moisture for infesting any structure. This species of the termites infest a place that is exposed to regular rainfall and moisture, like the wooden siding nearby to the rain gutters. 

These are some of the things which you must know, and you have the answer to the question of what do termites look like. The good thing about termite identification is that termite treatment is easy once you know which species it is that you want to get rid of. 

Termites Inspection 

Once you are done with the identification of termites that infest your property next thing you will need to do is to inspect. This will help you in finding what’s the location of the termites is. During the termite inspection, you need to look for the damage and activity of the termite. The tools you will need for the inspection are a sharp-edged object like a screwdriver and a flashlight. These will help you in inspecting inside the wood. 

Where To Do Termite Inspection?

The termite inspection depends on the places:

  • For indoors, you need to begin from places like the basement, crawlspaces, attics, or any other area that uses wood. Go for the inspection of ceiling joists, wooden frames of windows, support beams, wooden frames of doors, and any other part of the homemade using wood. 
  • For outdoors, look in the places like patios, decks, fences, porches, wooden walkways, or any other part of your property made using wood. You need to look specifically at the places where the wood meets the soil. Other than these, you also need to inspect the window frames, eaves, fascias, door frames, and soffits.

What To Look For?

What to look for is a vital question when you want to know the answer for what do termites look like, as knowing it helps you identify them easily. 

  • Look for mud tubes. These are small tunnel-like shapes that grow like roots from the soil onto the structure. The mud tubes are commonly made by the subterranean and Formosan termites. 
  • Swarmers of all the termite species discard their wings during the process of reproduction. Thus if you see any termite swings or swarmers, then it is a reason for a great cause. This means that the population in the termite colony has grown to an extensive level as it has forced the swarmers to leave the colony. 
  • Frass is a combination of sawdust and feces, which the termites discard from the damaged wood. Frass is created by the dry wood and damp wood termites. You may find the frass easily in places like window sills if they are infested. 
  • When looking inside the wood for termite control, you need to look for termite galleries. These are small tunnels which the termites from inside the wood, and these go along the grain. 

These are some of the things which you need to look for when searching for termites activities. If you find any of these things on your property, it means that you have found the infestation, and now you need to for identification. In identifying the answer to the question, what do termites look like, as we told above, will help you? 

Now when you know what do termites look like, how to do termites inspection, and what to look for, let’s move on to the next step – how to get rid of termites? This step will help you in termite control whether they are flying termites or anything else. 

How To Get Rid Of Termites? 

Once you are confirmed of the termite activity, the next thing to do is termite treatment along with termite control. But before we move on to the ways of termite control, you must know some things. These are:

  • Read the product labels carefully before you use them for treatment. 
  • Wear personal protective equipment. 
  • If the infestation is on a large scale, get professional help as the damage may lead to the collapse of a particular structure. 

Now let’s move onto the process of termite treatment. Follow these steps:

Outdoor Trench Treatment 

Start by creating a trench around your home, which is 6 inches in depth and 6 inches in width. Now get a termite repellent like the Taurus sc and mix it according to instructions on the package. 

Indoor Treatment

For indoor termite treatment, use products that have aerosol. After you get the products, inject them into the door and window slits, cracks, and crevices. 

For best results with most of the products, you need to apply them after a distance of every 10 to 12 feet. After the application of products for best results, close the holes and gaps using wall putty. 

Wood Treatment 

One of the best ways for termite control is treating the wood with borate-based termiticide. This method is more popular for dry wood termites. 

The rates of the application may vary according to the product and type of treatment you want – remedial or preventive. 

These are three methods that you can try for the termite treatment and control on your property. The good thing about these treatments is that you can easily try them at your home and property. Products for these treatments are also easily available in both online and offline stores. 

These are some of the things which you must know for knowing the answer to the question of what termites look like and how to get rid of them. 


Termites can be a nightmare for any homeowner, especially if you don’t know what do termites look like, as without identification, you may confuse them with ants. This, in turn, may lead to ignorance and thus more damage to the property. 

The good thing is that once you know what do termites look like, you need to go for the termite inspection, and after that, the termite treatment is easy. 

Jatin Choudhary

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