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Eastern Subterranean Termites

What do termites look like?

The appearance of a termite depends on what member of the colony they are and what job they perform in the colony. 

Workers make up the largest caste of a termite colony. They provide food for the colony, take care of the young members, and maintain the nest.  Workers have a soft creamy white body, no wings, are blind, and grow to be about ¼ of an inch in length.

Soldiers appear very similar to the workers except that they are slightly larger and have an elongated yellow head, large strong jaws, and short legs.  They use their strong jaws to defend the nest. 

The reproductives are the largest members of the colony; they are winged, are dark- and are about ¼ to ½ inch in length.  The reproductives swarm from a mature colony to mate and create their own new colonies.

eastern subterranean termites

What do termites eat?

Termites feed on materials that contain cellulose. In nature, they feed on dead or decaying wood, plants and trees. In homes, termites prefer to infest and feed on water damaged wood, insulation, wallpaper and other building materials, but will also feed on sound wood as well.  Termites have special bacteria in their digestive system which helps them to break down the cellulose.

What does termite damage look like?

Termites do all of their damage to the inside of wood; which makes it very difficult to spot an infestation in the early stages. Termite damaged wood generally looks fine on the outside, but the inside tells a different story- it can be full of tunnels and almost completely hollow. Termite damage can greatly reduce the structural integrity of the wood that they are infesting and if left untreated the damage that they inflict on a home may make it unlivable. More so than even carpenter ant damage, repairing termite damage can be very costly. 

What are the signs of termites?

While termites are a difficult pest to spot, they do leave behind some signs of their presence.  Knowing what these signs are is important in order to get rid of them from your property before they have the chance to inflict significant damages. Here are some sure signs of a termite presence:

  • Mud tubes; these ‘tubes’ in mud, are about the width of a pencil and the termites use them to go to and fro. Finding these on your home’s foundation walls can be indicative of a termite infestation.
  • Small holes in wood which are located higher up on walls.
  • Piles of wings along window sills, porches, or walkways. These wings are left behind after a termite swarm.
  • Paint or wallpaper that appears to be blistered or splintered.
  • Doors and windows that are warped and have become difficult to open or shut.

How do I tell the difference between termites and carpenter ants?

Winged termite swarmers and winged carpenter ants often confused with one another, but they are entirely two different insects. Knowing the difference between the two is vital in order to seek proper treatment. Here are some easy to spot differences:

  • Termites are smaller in size than carpenter ants and they are also soft bodied and creamy white in color.
  • Termites have a broad waist while carpenter ants have pinched “waist”.
  • Termites have straight antennae while carpenter ants have bent antennae.
  • Termites feed on the wood that they are infesting while carpenter ants simply tunnel through it to create nesting areas.
  • Termite swarmers have two pairs of the equal sized wings and winged carpenter ants have a large pair of front wings and smaller pair of back wings.

How do you get rid of termites?

Eastern subterranean termites are one of the most destructive types of termites in the southeast and are not an insect that responds well to DIY methods. If you suspect a termite problem in your home or business, contact Spencer Pest Services. As Authorized Operators of the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System, you can trust our termite control experts to exterminate the termites active on your property and the ones back at the colony. We also offer residential pest control programs that protect you from termites AND other household pests- ensuring a pest free home all year long.

Helpful termite articles

Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Termite Damage?

Signs Of A Termite Infestation

What Do Termites Look Like?

Differences Between Carpenter Ants And Termites

Why Professional Pest Control Is Essential For Termite Prevention