What Do Termites Look Like

Learn about the physical characteristics of termites, how to differentiate them from ants, and ways to prevent infestations. Protect your home from these destructive insects.


Termites are small insects that can cause significant damage to homes and buildings. Understanding what termites look like is important for identifying and preventing infestations.

Physical Characteristics

Termites are usually pale in color, ranging from white to light brown. They have soft bodies and are around 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. Termites have six legs and antennae, and their bodies are divided into three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.

Differences Between Termites and Ants

Many people confuse termites with ants, but there are some key differences between the two. Termites have straight antennae, a thick waist, and wings that are equal in size. Ants, on the other hand, have elbowed antennae, a narrow waist, and wings that are different lengths.

Types of Termites

  • Subterranean Termites: These termites live in underground colonies and build mud tubes to access food sources.
  • Dampwood Termites: These termites are attracted to damp or decaying wood and do not require contact with the soil.
  • Drywood Termites: These termites infest dry wood and do not need contact with the soil to survive.

Signs of Termite Infestation

Some common signs of a termite infestation include:

  • Hollow-sounding wood
  • Discarded termite wings
  • Mud tubes on walls or ceilings
  • Small holes in wood

Preventing Termite Infestations

To prevent termite infestations, it’s important to:

  • Keep woodpiles away from the foundation of your home
  • Fix any leaky pipes or faucets to reduce moisture
  • Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation
  • Get regular termite inspections


Knowing what termites look like can help you identify and prevent infestations before they cause serious damage to your property. By understanding their physical characteristics and behaviors, you can take the necessary steps to protect your home.

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