What Does a Termite Look Like?

Termites and carpenter ants have a lot in common. At certain points they both have wings that are then discarded once they find a new place to nest. They also both have an affinity for wood – but while carpenter ants will only nest inside moist and damaged wood, termites will burrow into even healthy wood and chew it all up to a powder. That’s why, while carpenter ants are certainly a problem, they in no way measure up to the billions of dollars’ worth of damage that termites create each year. 

If you can recognize termites in your home, you can treat them before they cause any more damage. So, if you see a bug, you’ll know it’s a termite if it: 

  • Has a segmented body with a head, thorax and abdomen
  • Is sized from ¼-½”
  • Is colored from off-white to dark brown
  • Has wings (If it’s a swarmer)
  • Is an adult with 6 legs and a straight antenna
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Termite Appearance

Though the above guidelines apply to termites as a whole, these wood-hungry instincts differ in appearance depending on a few key factors. You don’t need to know the exact variety of termite to call us for treatment, but when we send an exterminator to your property, they’ll be looking for color, size and caste.

Color and Size 

If the termite is larger in size and tinted red, it is likely a Dampwood Termite. If it is yellow-brown with transparent wings it could be a Drywood Termite, while if it’s off-white or dark brown it is probably a Subterranean Termite


The caste of the termite also plays a role in what it looks like. A majority of the average termite colony is made up of workers, which are usually off-white with a creamy appearance. There are also soldiers with their large heads and powerful mandibles. And finally, there are the alates, otherwise known as swarmers, who are reproductive termites with wings that eventually shed.

How to Spot Termites Near Your Home

After saying all this, it might come as a disappointment to learn that you very rarely see a termite crawling along a wall inside your house. That’s because they almost always spend their time inside the structure of your property itself. So, when it comes to spotting termites, you’re more likely to find evidence of them through the damage they leave behind. That’s why if you even suspect that the damage on your wood is from termites, you can call D’s Pest Control and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of!

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