Termites or something else

Identification

Termites are very small and similar in size to ants, which often leads to confusion. There are also several different types of termites, which can make figuring out which control method to use challenging. In fact, knowing the key differences between ants and termites is a good starting point for identification. Knowing the types of termites you’re dealing with is the next key factor for professionals to determine.

Owing to their secretive nature, termites can be hard to detect, especially with an untrained eye. You are far more likely to spot the signs of termite damage before you spot termites themselves.

There are different types of termites, but there are some very destructive species that like warm, moist, areas. So, cities and areas like Miami, Atlanta, and Charleston can be affected by these species of termite.

As with any other pest, correct identification ensures the use of the most effective control methods and allows you to choose the most appropriate prevention steps to try and avoid problems in the future. You can discuss options such as chemical barriers or other methods to keep termites away.

Need help identifying termites? Call Ehrlich today at 1-800-837-5520 for advice and to schedule a FREE termite inspection of your home or business.

Think you have termites in your home?

Click here to set up an appointment to discuss our termite treatments.

What do termites look like?

Do termites really look like ants? Termite swarmers can look like flying ants, and they are often confused.

The difference between these two pests will greatly impact the type of service needed to control them in your property.

Often a suspected problem with termites, turns out to be a problem with carpenter ants or fire ants, because they look so similar.

Here’s how to establish the general differences in appearance and behavior between ants and termites:

Waist – Termites have a straight waist, while ants have a pinched waist.

Antennae – Termites have straight antennae while ants have bent antennae.

Wing Length – Termites wings are the same length while ants have wings of different length.

Look for discarded wings around window sills – Flying termites (also known as swarmers) are often confused with flying ants, because both their winged mating cycles occur during the springtime. However, flying ants do not shed their wings. If you have seen these flying insects in your property, you can be fairly certain you have identified termites if you’ve also found discarded wings.

Look for differences in body shape – The image below should help you identify important differences in body shape of termites and winged ants (termite is on the right, ant on the left):

Have you spotted termites in your home or workplace? As these insects are highly destructive, you should get professional advice and termite control from Ehrlich right away. Our termite control specialists know how to spot termite eggs, larvae and which types of termites might be causing the damage.

Why is identification so difficult?

Even armed with the above information, it may still be hard to make a correct identification using the naked eye. Bear in mind that termite swarmers are only about ΒΌ inch long – about the same size as a pencil eraser.

Identification is made even more difficult by the fact that termites often remain hidden away in properties for years without the owner’s knowledge. As already mentioned, the first indicator of a potential problem is usually visible evidence of termite damage.

Ehrlich’s termite species guide offers greater detail on what termites look like and how to recognize the common features between termite species.

What are the types of termites?

What kind of termites are you seeing in your home? Click here to find out.

Identifying termite species

All types of termites can cause damage to your home, but knowing a bit more about the different species of termites can help identify them more easily. Depending on where you are in the country can also determine the types of termites you may have to contend with.

The location of your property as well as its component structure will both have an impact on the termite species, which you may be at risk of.

Generally speaking, incidence of termite infestation is much higher in the southeastern states, such as Florida, and the west coast states, such as California, and gradually decreases the further north you travel in the country.

Here are some of the most common termite species found in the U.S. Subterranean termites are one of the most common species found throughout the U.S.

The top 3 most invasive species of this type, include the Eastern subterranean, Western subterranean and the Formosan subterranean termites.

Eastern subterranean termites are the most prevalent and can be found on the east coast in states like Georgia and as far west as Utah. Western subterranean termites are mostly found along the west coast and inland through to Nevada.

Formosan termites – are a particularly serious type of subterranean termite, but are not as common. Formosan subterranean termites are found primarily in Louisiana, Mississippi, along the Gulf coast.

Drywood termites – can also be found in the US, sometimes nearer to the coast although they don’t need moisture to survive. They are prevalent along the gulf coast as well as on the west coast in California.

Dampwood termites – live in damp and rotting wood and mulch, and can often be found near open water. They can enter your home through wood that meets damp soil.

Termites with wings

The primary function of termites with wings, or swarmers, is to reproduce and generate new colonies. They have two wing pairs, and the presence of these insects indoors signifies that a building is likely infested. Flying termites can commonly be found swarming around window sills or exterior lighting because light attracts them.

These insects will turn into the queens and kings of new colonies. Termites with wings depart from their nests and fly when the conditions are appropriate. The males and females will swarm together in the air. After they land, the swarmers will shed their wings, mate, and start new colonies.

Control and prevention of termites after identification

Once correct identification is made, the most effective solution plan can be offered to quickly bring the problem under control. Ehrlich offers conventional termite treatment which uses liquid termiticide treatment and other methods include the use of monitoring and baiting systems.

Identifying termites from their damage

At Ehrlich, we confirm the invading termite species through a visual identification rather than just looking at the evidence of the damage to your building and its location.

However, some of the points below could be of help to you, when checking your building for signs of activity:

Subterranean termites begin their feeding process (damage) from the ground up and typically enter a building through the sub-structure. Homes with crawl spaces are at great risk. It is here you should look for evidence of damaged wood and mud tubes. Wood damaged by this particular species develops β€œgalleries” (hollow tunnels), which run along the grain of the wood.

Drywood termites typically enter structures near the roof line or other exposed wood to begin building a colony. Inspect your attic for evidence of damaged wood. Look for tiny holes in the wood with evidence of frass collecting nearby. Probing the wood can also expose galleries as well.

Having experienced a termite infestation, most people will be eager to ensure they do not have the same problem in the future. Ehrlich can give you simple steps you can take to β€œtermite-proof” your home or business and the prevention plans can offer further help.

If you suspect you have termites, call us today at 1-800-837-5520 or contact us online to arrange a FREE termite inspection for your home or business.

www.jcehrlich.com

Ant, termite, or something else?

Location, Cape Coral Florida

I have been seeing what look like flying ants or termites in my house. They are a little longer than 1/8″. At first I thought they may be termites. After getting zoom in photos and researching I now think (and hope) they are probably just ants.

Researching online, it says that ants should have bent antennas. However, these look like straight antennas. However, the bodies appear segmented like an ant. I really can’t tell either way on the wings. They are just too small to look at really closely.

I tried to get good photos but being so small, these were the best I could do. Images 1-3 alive bugs are for sure the same species. Image 4 of the dead bug I believe is the same species but I’m not 100% positive on that. It came from the same location and is about the same size.

This message was edited May 10, 2016 12:40 PM

These all appear to be male ants. The ‘elbowing’ of their antennae is not as evident on male ants as it is on females – http://askabiologist.asu.edu/sites/default/files/resources/articles/ant_anatomy/ant_queen_male_worker.jpg

Thanks. I was thinking they were ants but I just wanted to make sure. I can live with ants πŸ™‚ Termites, not so much.

davesgarden.com

15 Surprising Things Termites Eat (And Don’t Eat)

Curious to know what termites like to eat?

Well you’re in for a treat because we break down everything you need to know about termites and their dietary habits!

From concrete to plywood, what WON’T a termite chomp on?

Termites and Their Eating Habits

Have you ever noticed that you only seem to see termites infesting wooden structures?

Why is that? Do they eat anything else?

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your termite problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

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Why Do Termites Like Wood?

Studies of the gut of a termite have been performed on a microscopic level to reveal something unexpected: these pests actually have bacterial protozoa living in their stomachs, digesting their food for them.

These protozoa break down cellulose, a biological compound found in wood, and create fuel from this unlikely resource. Because cellulose is found most abundantly in wood and tree roots, termites gravitate toward it.

Check out this video to learn more about WHY termites like wood!

Will Termites Eat Concrete?

Termites will NOT eat through concrete.

However, because termites will crawl through pre-made cracks in concrete structures and surfaces in search of wood, many people will fall to the misconception that the termites themselves have created the cracks.

Will Termites Eat Plastic?

While termites only feed on items with a cellulose compound, it’s not uncommon for termites to use their serrated jaws to chew through plastic barriers. When it comes to wood, termites will do whatever they can to gnaw through blockades.

The termites aren’t eating the plastic, however. This will not give them sustenance; they are using their jaws more as a weapon than as a vehicle for food.

What Wood Will A Termite Eat?

Okay, so termites are really only in search of cellulose, which is found primarily in wood.

But is all wood created equal to termites? Keep reading to find out.

Will Termites Eat Cedar?

These pests will stay away from cedar at first, however, this won’t always be the case. Over time, the wood will begin to break down and the resinous​​​​​ decay will be attractive to termites.

Will Termites Eat Bamboo?

While bamboo is often eaten by pests, it’s not by termites.

The most common insect feeding off of this unique type of wood is the Bostrichid powerpost beetle, which feeds on different types of hard and soft wood.

Will Termites Eat Redwood?

Redwood is another type of wood that’s a natural deterrent for termites.

In the wild, redwood acts as treated wood does in warding off worker termites seeking food for the colony. However, as time wears on, the wood gets worn out. Its resin seeps into the ground, luring termites to feast.

Do Termites Eat Building Supplies?

If you’re in the process of building a home, shed, garage, or any other structure, you’re going to want to use the right materials upfront.

To prevent termite infestation, read below about how likely termites are to chow down on your different supplies.

Will Termites Eat Pressure Treated Lumber ?

The answer to this is a solid no.

Pressure treatment of lumber with chemicals is the number-one step taken against termites. The wood is packed with a preserving agent to stop decay as well as fill the wood with a chemical compound which acts as a blockade against termites. Normally, this is the wood that makes direct contact with the ground, so that when termites encounter the lumber, they’ll pass it right by.

Will Termites Eat Plywood?

This answer depends on whether the plywood has been pressure-treated or not.

Plywood is composed of several cuts of wood glued together, which contains cellulose. Normally, termites will find this cellulose in plywood, so they’ll eat it. However, with a pressure treatment, the termites will no longer be able to sniff out their favorite food.

Will Termites Eat OSB?

Oriented strand board (OSB) is made of wood, but it is cement-bonded for extra durability. For this reason, termites aren’t likely to eat it.

The presence of the cement works to deter termites from the cellulose in the wood chips which make up the board, but also prevents decay. These two factors significantly decrease the likelihood that termites will eat OSB.

Will Termites Eat Sheetrock?

The paper which lines the front of a sheetrock wall is comprised of cellulose, so it’s a nice appetizer for termites. While they don’t like to eat the actual sheetrock itself, they’ll begin to eat the outer layer and search inside for more cellulose.

Also, the walls behind the sheetrock layer in a home or a garage are primarily made of wood, so it’s not unlikely that a termite will keep journeying straight through the sheetrock to find even more cellulose.

Will Termites Eat Particle Board?

Because particle board is made up of several different types of wood (chips, sawdust, waste materials), termites LOVE to eat particle board.

Another major attractant of termites to particle board is its ability to swell with moisture. Because some termites love dampened wood, wet particle board is like serving termites their favorite food on a silver platter.

Termites and Their Diet Outside!

What do termites eat in the wild?

Do you have plants in your yard that could be harboring termite colonies without your knowledge?

Read on for more info.

Will Termites Eat Live Trees?

Normally, live trees and bushes are not optimal sources of food for termites, as these insects feed on dead and decaying cellulose.

However, Formosan Subterranean termites can take over some species of live trees, burrowing into the centers and making themselves at home inside.

Unless the tree starts to decay, you should be okay.

Will Termites Eat Cypress?

Cypress is another type of wood (along with cedar and redwood) which is naturally decay-resistant during its lifespan.

However, once the tree dies, it will eventually break down. Also, the presence of moisture within the tree’s trunk, branches, and roots can lead termites to a cypress tree.

Will Termites Eat Dry Wood?

The answer to this question, unfortunately, is yes.

There’s a species of termite which feeds exclusively on dry, smooth wood such as hardwood floors, banisters, baseboards, and even furniture. The tunnels made by the termites’ chewing are smooth and finished, as the drywood termites don’t have the same serrated, jagged jaw that the dampwood termites have.

Will Termites Eat Painted Wood?

Here’s some good news for all homeowners: termites won’t eat through paint!

However, whether or not a termite colony will make its way into your wood depends on how well the wood was painted. If the pieces of wood inside the ground are bare, then this is a surefire way for termites to make their way inside the wooden structure.

Do yourself a favor and leave no spot unpainted.

Will Termites Eat Poplar Wood?

Poplar wood is defined at utilitarian, working wood. It can be a blend of a few different types of wood, all with different levels of resistance to termites.

Each kind of wood has cellulose, which will always be what a colony of termites is after. However, some poplar wood may be stronger at protecting against termites if made from certain naturally-resistant trees like cypress, redwood, and cedar.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your termite problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

(Process takes about 30 seconds)

Termite Diet Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing to remember about a termite’s dietary habits, it’s that these insects will always feast on cellulose and decaying wood.

Any item or particle made up of cellulose is prime cuisine for a termite. This includes nearly every type of wood, especially those which swell with moisture.

Steps can be taken, however, to protect wood against termite infestation such as pressure treatment, concrete reinforcement, and sealant coats.

By knowing the prime attractant for termites, you can better protect against an infestation in the future.

Other Termite Guides

Curious about other termite related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

www.peststrategies.com

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