Termites cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage across Australia every year. Queensland, in particular, is at extreme risk for termites, so it is essential for homeowners to have yearly inspections, implement preventive measures, and know the signs of termites. Understanding the anatomy of termites and what they look like can ensure that you catch infestations early and get them taken care of quickly.

Termites look similar to other insects and are most often confused with ants. Luckily, there are a few differences that sharp-eyed homeowners can spot. Here are some of the key anatomical features of termites.

Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)] via Wikipedia

Size: There are thousands of different species of termites, so sizes can vary a lot, but most species are between 4 and 15 mm long. The queen is usually the largest termite, followed by workers and soldiers. The largest termites in the world are queen macrotermes bellicosus termites. They can reach up to 10 cm is length.

Color: Different castes and species of termites also vary in color. Most worker termites are white or nearly translucent.  The soldiers can be light caramel brown, yellow, tan, or dark brown. They typically have large heads that are much darker than their bodies. 

Body: Like other insects, termites have 3 body segments (prothorax, mesothorax, and metathorax). They have one pair of legs attached to each segment, for a total of 6. One very important distinguishing factor is the waist. Termites have straight waists, whereas ants have pinched waists that narrow significantly. 

Antennae: Both ants and termites have a pair of antennae that are described as looking like a “string of beads.” Ants have bent or elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae. The antennae are used for sensing touch, heat, odors, and even vibrations.

Wings: The reproductive termites, known as alates, are the only termites that fly. During certain times of the year, they will swarm to find a mate. Although they fly poorly, they can glide well enough. After finding a good place for a nest, they will mate and then twist off their wings. Piles of wings near window ledges and porches is a sure sign of an infestation nearby. The two pairs of termite wings are very close to the same length. Ant reproductives also have two pairs of wings, but the fore wings are generally larger than the hind ones. 

Termite Control Along the Sunshine Coast

Professionals can identify specific termite species through microscopic examination. Soldier termites are often the easiest ones to distinguish. For homeowners, just knowing the basics of termite anatomy is enough. Once you have identified termites in your home, it is time to turn the problem over to termite specialists. The experts and Radar Pest Control will inspect your home, identify the pest causing the problem, and work with you to develop a customized plan to get rid of the pests. Radar Pest Control serves the great people in Nambour, Buderim, and surrounding areas. For Sunshine Coast termite control, contact Radar Pest Control today.