Skip to content

What Does a Termite Look Like?

Although termites are secretive and rarely seen, it’s  important to know how to identify them. Termites differ in appearance between types and castes, however, they share several similar attributes.

Main characteristics of termites include:

  • Most termites are ¼ – ½ inch in length
  • Termite bodies can be in a color range from off-white to dark brown
  • Termite bodies are divided into three segments: head, thorax, and abdomen
  • Termite have straight antennae and their bodies are soft and straight
  • Some termites, called swarmers, possess wings that are the same length
What does a termite look like

What Do Different Termite Species Look Like?

The appearance of a termite is determined by the species and caste. Dampwood termites are much larger than other species of termites and their bodies will be brown to reddish in color. However, drywood termites, can be a yellow-brown in color, with wings that range from transparent to light-gray. Subterranean termites are typically a creamy-white to dark brown or black color. Learning the differences between these termite species is important to identifying an infestation in your home.

Characteristics of Termite Castes

A termite colony is made up of three castes or groups of termites, with each caste performing a specific role within the colony. Each of these castes differ in size, color, and shape but typically hold similar characteristics throughout the types. The main castes and their characteristics are as follows: 

  1. Workers make up the largest number in a colony and have an off-white to creamy colored appearance.
  2. Alates or Swarmers are winged male and female reproductives that swarm out from the nest at certain times of the year. They all have wings that allow them to fly and vary in color between species.
  3. Soldiers defend the colony and are often confused for ants. Soldier termites have large, dark heads with powerful mandibles.
  4. Queen termites are large, translucent, and do not emerge from the nest. They are capable of living for several decades, and can grow to the size of a human finger.

How to Identify Termites By Their Appearance

Termite swarmers are generally the only caste that is ever seen, so it is rare see termites in your home. They live and work within the very structure of your home, and can go unnoticed for years! The professional pest control experts at Johnson will perform a thorough inspection that will not only identify the species of termites in your home, but also the extent of damage that they have created.

If you notice termites on your property contact your local termite exterminators right away!