Termites look like quite a few other insects and to the untrained eye; there can be a lot of confusion in terms of trying to identify them. One of the most common mistakes to make is to think that a termite is a flying insect. One of the easiest ways to distinguish between the two is to look at their body structure. Flying ants have 3 distinct segments to their body and their wings (two sets like the termites) are of unequal length. Flying ants will also show off some curves at the two connecting areas between their three segments. Also their antennas are bent.
Proper identification helps apply the proper method of extermination. For effective elimination of these insects, it is important to identify the species since each one may need a specific kind of a treatment.
Here are a few ways in which you can tell the difference between termites and other insects.
Generally speaking, termites have a rounder body which is not curvaceous. Their stocky build is divided into two parts and their antennas do not have any bends or kinks in them. This straight antenna is flexible though and the termites clean them by simply bending into their mouths and “licking”.
The social construct of a termite colony has three different strata – the workers, the soldiers and the reproductives. The workers are almost larval in appearance with soft bodies. The soldiers are made of slightly harder stuff and their jaws are bigger in order to enable them to protect the colony better. The heads of these soldier termites are bigger or enlarged and harder as well. The reproductives stratum includes queens, and primary and secondary reproductives.
On reaching full maturity, termite adults have hardened bodies and fully grown wings that will make them journey to other colonies to mate.
Different species of termites have different colors and sizes and the social order they belong to. For instance, drywood termite species have distinctive red- brown heads. The western subterranean termites have yellow heads. Worker termites are the smallest in size. While most termites are between 1/4th of an inch to 1 inch long, some species outdo others in the size category. Subterranean termites are smaller than dry wood species.
There also winged termites which on close inspection will show two distinct sets of wings. These wings are equal in length and are double the size of a termite’s body.
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Termites: What Do Termites Look Like