Termites occur in various sizes that are specific to their job within the nest. Being one of the most shared Georgia bugs, it’s worth it to know what they look like and how to determine if they are eating your home.
What do Termites Look Like?
Regular termites are typically about 1/8- to 3/8-inch in length. Pale, cream colored. These are the termites that most people recognize with a slightly almost translucent body. They are the ones that forage for food and bring them back to their queen.
Soldier Termites have a body that is the same to that of the worker, but they have a large, deck head with big claws. Light colored with brown head. Soldier termites are called the “Defender of the colony”. The soldier termite has a long, armored head and mandibles capable of cutting an enemy ant in half. The soldier also sounds the “horn” by banging his head against the side of a tunnel.
Queens or Mature “Nymphs”: About one inch long. Dark brown/black. “Flying Termites” are the termites almost always seen in the open. They are commonly referred to as “swarmers.” During the mating season these termites fly out of the colony to hunt a new home, they discarded their wing and look for a mate. Once they are out in the open two things happen:
1. A bird gets a meal
2. You know where the termites are
If you happen to see this contact your local pest control company closest.
How do you know if there are termites in or near your home?
Additional signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes (shown right) extending over foundation walls, sustain docks, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are usually about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker. Termites construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure.
To see if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites. If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily average that the infestation is idle; termites often abandon sections of tube while foraging in other places in the structure.
Termite-damaged wood is usually hollowed out along the grain, with bits of dried mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., carpenter ants) will not have this turn up. Sometimes termites bore tiny holes by plaster or drywall, accompanied by bits of soil around the margin. Rippled or underwater traces behind wall coverings can also be indicative of termites tunneling underneath.
Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can already progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.