How to Identify Termites

Unless you learn how to identify termites, you'll be unable to protect your home from serious (and expensive) damage. Although termites spend much of their lives hidden away in the dark, there are ways to identify termites and the nests they make.

How To Identify Termites Accurately

Although termites look something like ants, they actually have more in common with roaches, genetically speaking. Although termites are notorious for their love of wood, they are also attracted to sources of water such as leaking pipes. Keeping basements or crawlspaces dry and in good repair is the best way to keep termites at bay. But what if you think you have a termite infestation? The following tips will help you understand how to identify termites:

  • Ghostly white. Termite workers-seen when a nest is broken open-are white or translucent with short, stubby legs. Ants, on the other hand, are black, brown or red and have long thin legs.
  • Don't call me an ant! Although flying termites appear similar to flying ants, there are several distinct differences. While flying ants have narrow waists and segmented bodies, termites have thick waists and only one body segment. Termites have straight antennae, while the antennae of ants are bent into an elbow shape. Finally, termites have two sets long wings that are the same size, whereas ants have a large and small set of wings.
  • Spring fling. Once a year, termite colonies will send out a caste of flying insects to form new colonies. These swarms of winged termites occur in the spring. Swarms of winged insects in your home or discarded wings around your property are a strong sign of termite infestation.
  • Getting from here to there. While anthills are very distinctive, termites also create distinctive formations called mud tunnels. Termites use mud tunnels to get from their nest to nearby food supplies. Termite tunnels appear as tan or brown tubes of mud along basement or crawlspace walls and can also appear on structural wood that is near or touching the ground.
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