What Does a Termite Look Like?
The appearance of a termite depends largely on its caste. Workers, the termites responsible for the most damage, have creamy-white or pale bodies with small heads. Soldiers look similar, except their heads are brown or yellow and noticeably larger. The reproductive termite has a black or dark brown body and wings.
Winged termites, also called swarmers, are often mistaken for flying ants, but there are a few key differences between the two. Winged termites do not have a defined midsection, and they have four equally sized wings. Conversely, flying ants have a narrow waist and two sets of wings, one larger than the other. Winged termites also have straight antennae, while those of the flying ant are bent.
How Big Is a Termite?
While there are many types of termites in the United States, the most common in New England is the eastern subterranean species. Depending on the caste, eastern subterranean termites usually measure between one-quarter and one-half of an inch long. However, some workers and soldiers can be even smaller at around one-eighth of an inch.
Termite Photo Gallery
Due to their similar size and overall shape, it’s easy to mistake a termite for an ant. However, knowing what a termite looks like can save you or your business time, money, and stress. Check out the termite pictures below to help figure out what kind of infestation you may have on your hands.
A key physical characteristic of flying termites is their straight antennae, which differs noticeably from the bent antennae of flying ants.
Termites have long, broad bodies that differ greatly from the narrow, segmented bodies of ants.
Soldier termites have large mandibles that they use to protect the colony from invasive insects like ants.
Each caste of termite has a different job within the colony. Pictured here are workers feeding on wood while soldiers navigate and protect their territory.
Images Comparing Termites and Ants
While similar in size and overall shape, termites and carpenter ants are often different when it comes to color. Where termites are usually pale white or brown, carpenter ants are dark black or red.
At first glance, it can be easy to mistake a termite for a carpenter ant. However, comparing each insects’ wings makes it easy to tell the difference. Flying termites have broad bodies and four translucent wings of equal size. Narrow-waisted carpenter ants also have two sets of wings, though they are noticeably veined and one set is smaller than the other.