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Termite Identification

Often confused with ants, termites are small insects.  Termites are generally no bigger than ½” and vary in color from creamy-white to brown. Some termites, called swarmers, have wings that enable them to fly.

In Eastern Tennessee, the three most common termites are subterranean termites, formosan termites, and drywood termites. All three species have the potential to cause severe damage to homes and businesses.

Signs of termites include damaged or peeling wood, mud tubes on the perimeter of a structure, frass (termite droppings), discarded wings, and, the sighting of actual termites.

Termites in Eastern Tennessee are year-round pests. However, they are known to swarm during spring and summer, which is why many people call springtime “swarming season.”

Termites start out as eggs laid by the queen termite. Young larvae hatch and molt several times until assigned to its designated caste. Castes include workers, soldiers, and reproductives.

Termites are found throughout the country, however different species of termites are active in different areas. Termites thrive in warmer, wet climates, making  Eastern Tennessee their perfect environment.

The conditions that encourage termites to thrive include availability of cellulose, contact of wood with soil, ample moisture, mild climate, and age and size of the colony.