Termite Identification Made Easy


When it comes to your home and termites, pictures are worth more than a thousand words. Knowing what termites look like can help you identify potential problems.

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When it comes to protecting your home from termites, pictures are the first step to getting informed. Knowing what termites look like will help you identify them and spot any potential problems.

Termite ID infographic

Subterranean Termites

Location: Across the United States, except for Alaska

Subterranean termite soldiers are smaller than those of several other species (up to one-quarter of an inch long) but their colonies are larger. The colony is often several feet below ground, and these termites must maintain contact with the soil. An infestation, however, can still cause far-reaching structural collapse.

Formosan Termites

Location: Southeastern U.S. and Hawaii

Formosan termites are an invasive subterranean termite species. Their colonies are the largest of any subterranean species in North America and can include millions of termites. Like other subterranean species, they eat soft wood. Unfortunately, they often build large structures inside walls that retain a lot of moisture, damaging homes even faster.

Drywood Termites

Location: Florida to Southern California and Hawaii, in warm to tropical climates

Drywood termite soldiers are three-eighths to one-half inch long. They eat across the grain of the wood, which can cause structural collapse. Unlike other species, drywood termites do not need to remain in contact with the soil or have access to water.

Signs Of A Termite Infestation

Termites can be found in homes, garages, fences, other wooden structures, trees and dead wood. Infestation signs may include:

  • Wood-colored termite droppings (roughly the size of a grain of coarse sea salt) near openings and inside termite galleries (tunnels)
  • Damage across the wood grain
  • Wood, sheetrock and painted, wallpapered or other finished surfaces that appear “blistered” due to termite activity below the surface
  • Swarming termites exiting a structure
  • Visible mud tunnels, or tubes
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped

Another Termite Offender

Swarming termites, often called flying termites or winged termites: They are often mistaken for carpenter ants, which also have wings. They may be seen exiting small holes in wooden portions of your home as they prepare to fly to a new location. They can also be found in large numbers on windows and windowsills since they are strongly attracted to light. They are reproductive alates, and this termite behavior is how they search for a place to establish new colonies. They shed their wings after they land.

Now that you know the answer to, “What do termites look like?” — and have pictures of termites for reference — you can be on the lookout for these home invaders. If you are seeing signs of termite damage or swarming termites in or around your home, go online and schedule your FREE TERMITE INSPECTION today.

Next > When Does Termite Swarming Season Begin?