- Think you have termites in your home?
- What do termites look like?
- Why is identification so difficult?
- What are the types of termites?
- Identifying termite species
- Termites with wings
- Control and prevention of termites after identification
- Identifying termites from their damage
- Do Termites Look Like Maggots?
- From a Distance
- Termite Larvae and Maggots
- Swarming Behavior
- Key Distinctions
- What Termite Larvae in Your Home Can Really Mean… (HINT: It’s Not Good)
- The Life of a Larva
- What Are Castes and How Are They Decided?
- How To Kill Larvae
- Termite Larvae – What Does Baby Termite Look Like?
- What Does Termite Larvae Look Like
- How to Identify If You Have Termite Larvae
- What Does Larva Eat?
- Life Cycle of Baby (Larvae) Termites
- The Difference Between Termite Larvae and Other Insects
- Termite Larvae vs Maggots
- Termite Larvae vs Ants
- Termite Larvae vs Beetles
- Termite Larvae Control – How to Kill Them
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.
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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 ¼ 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 “galleries” (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 “termite-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.
Do Termites Look Like Maggots?
Superficially, termites and maggots do have a number of physical similaritie. They can both be an off-white or yellow color and are roughly the same shape and size. Naturally, both of these pests are unwelcome in the home and it’s understandable to not want to get too close to them for a positive ID. Thankfully, you can make the distinction by observing other factors, such as habitat and behavior, from a more comfortable distance.
From a Distance
Without observing the creatures from close range, they will appear very similar. Many home owners with termite infestations believe they actually have a maggot infestation because of the physical similarities. However, adult termites typically reach a size of 3/8 inch, while most maggots grow slightly larger, around 1/2 inch in length.
Termite Larvae and Maggots
Termite larvae bear an even closer resemblance to maggots, although they are typically much smaller, at around 1/10 inch. The juvenile termite lacks the hard shell of the adult, but in all other aspects, closely resembles the adults. Maggots, however, look nothing like the adult flies that they’ll eventually become. They have no wings, legs and are a totally different color. So if you spot a group of small, tubular insects of varying sizes, it’s probably adult and juvenile termites. If the swarm is uniform in size, it’s more likely to be maggots.
Swarming is common to both termites and maggots. However, they swarm in different ways. Termites build nests or mounds and have an organized hierarchy therein. The nest contains different cells for workers, the queen and larvae. Termites typically remain hidden from view. Maggots swarm freely, gravitating toward food sources, such as rotting organic matter. It’s highly improbable that you’ll see a swarm of termites devouring a rotting piece of food. That’s classic maggot behavior.
Another key distinction is that the termite has wings. These are vestigial, though, and may not be apparent at first glance. Termites, even at the larval stage, have a distinct head, while the head of a maggot is practically indistinguishable from the rest of the body to the naked eye. The most reliable marker for distinguishing between termites and maggots is the presence of a mound. Only termites create mounds. If you’re willing to use a magnifying glass, you’ll see in great clarity how these two creatures are anatomically different. Termites have antennae, wings and legs; maggots do not.
What Termite Larvae in Your Home Can Really Mean… (HINT: It’s Not Good)
Termites follow a cycle of insect life that begins at the egg. What hatches from the egg is called a larva, although some sources will also refer to newly hatched termites as “nymphs”. This is due to the fact that larva usually refers to the newly hatched of metamorphic insects such as flies or butterflies.
Metamorphic insect larvae are different in appearance from the adult stage – termite young are primarily smaller, whiter, softer worker adults – and have interim phases, often the “pupa” stage which termites do not have. However, “larva” may also refer to newly hatched insects so this is not an incorrect use of the term.
Termite eggs are too small for the naked eye to see, and when termite larva first hatch, they are the size of the egg. Most termite larvae are about one tenth of an inch big and spend their time inside the colony, so in the case of an infestation, a homeowner is not likely to see the larvae.
However, termite larvae play an integral role in termite colonies in replenishing their workforce and numbers; though tiny, termite larvae may consist of large portions of the colony as they grow and become integrated into termite work.
The Life of a Larva
Once eggs are laid, termite workers carry them off to incubation areas to hatch. Eggs hatch within a few weeks–perhaps a month–from when they were laid. After hatching, the new larvae are then carried away to a nursery where workers feed and groom them until they are old enough to be directed into a caste. Larvae molt (shed their exoskeletons) several times as they grow. They will reach adulthood after multiple moltings.
Once the caste is decided, the larva will develop into an adult and begin its new role. Some molting may be required. If the larva is to become any of the reproductive castes, the larva will actually have one more interim step, becoming an “nymph”. While larvae may also be referred to as “nymphs”, during this period, the termite develops wing nubs and it is a distinct period from the hatchling as only reproductive termites will become nymphs.
Depending on the type of reproductive termite, the nymph may or may not actually develop wings, or even keep the wing nubs. The nymph will then develop into a full-on reproductive termite, lay eggs, and start the cycle over again.
What Are Castes and How Are They Decided?
The castes are as follows:
- Worker Termites
- Soldier Termites
- Reproductive Termites
- Alate (future king or queen)
- Neotenic (supplementary)
The caste that a termite joins is determined by what is needed by the colony. Most termites will become worker termites, but some will become reproductive and a fewer amount will become soldiers. If the colony is quite large, many will become alates as the initial pairing process for alates usually proves fatal for them.
A larva’s role is not set in stone after it joins its new caste; adult termites can be directed to change to a different role if it becomes necessary. This means that even if all reproductive castes are wiped out, the infestation is not necessarily defeated.
A termite larva will be directed to a caste by pheromones – chemical signals – released by the king or queen. The larva may change development before complete if directed by these pheromones. Most likely, the larva who becomes a soldier will have become a worker termite first and later be directed to convert into a soldier.
On becoming a soldier, the termite will develop a hard head with immense mandibles that are powerful for fighting, although they make it impossible for the termite to eat without assistance from a worker. Larva that become nymphs will usually become neotenic; there are secondary and tertiary neotenic termites, the former of which are as “back-up queens” and lays eggs to supplement the colony’s size, the latter which directly assist the queen in her egg-laying. Tertiary reproductive termites do not even have wing nubs. Alate will leave the colony once developed and begin new colonies, becoming the king and queen of that new colony.
How To Kill Larvae
While most methods for killing termites will focus on the colony as a whole, or on adults specifically, there is one remedy that will target larvae: nematodes. Nematodes are small, non-segmented worms that are parasites to many household pests. Nematodes should be kept cool and planted somewhere where they will not be damaged by UV rays from the sun.
When nematodes are released into a termite colony (sometimes called a termite nest), they target larvae, burrowing into their bodies. The larvae die within forty-eight hours. Without any progeny, this may be an effective way to wipe out an infestation, but note that termites may live up to two years and that the queen may live for at least ten. As termites do not sleep, the damage that they can wreak before they die out would still be quite costly.
Termite Larvae – What Does Baby Termite Look Like?
Larvae are commonly referred to the newly hatched termites.
They are young ones develop to become soldier, nymph, or worker termites. Just like adult termites, larvae survive on cellulose-based materials.
But, in order to break down the cellulose, they need the guidance of worker termites. It means larvae can’t break the cellulose without any guidance. Moreover, larvae termites molt severally before they’re completely grown.
Identifying them is very important as they can cause damage incidentally.
Even though they don’t invade wooden structures and hole to look for cellulose, larvae will wait for the worker termites. Thus, the workers will be responsible for the destructive work and get them food.
In this article you will find:
What Does Termite Larvae Look Like
They are small in size. Actually, their size is almost similar to termite eggs. The majority of larvae is 2.5 mm long or less than 1/10-inch.
Larvae are almost translucent or white in color. However, adult nymph, as well as worker termites, gave the same pale coloring. Thus the color alone won’t tell whether it’s larva or not.
Baby termites look like similar to the smaller versions of workers. Instead of hard outside shell, they have a soft body. Furthermore, they have six legs, a different head, and straight antennae.
How to Identify If You Have Termite Larvae[hire pest=” Termite “]If you want to identify whether you have termite larvae, you’ll need to follow some steps. The three easy and simple steps are as follow.
Step 1. Examine The Insect’s Body
Aforementioned, termite larvae have soft bodies. Thus if you notice insects that has a soft body and the antennae are instigating from the head that’s different from the rest of its body, then it’s likely to be larvae.
Step 2. Examine their Color
Baby termites are translucent and white control. However, if you notice insects that have a pale color, darker head, and a white body they might be soldier termites.
Step 3. Measure the Insects
Termite larvae are estimated to be 1/10-inch or 2.5mm long. Also, if you notice insects that size is similar to termite eggs, then those are termite larvae or baby termite.
What Does Larva Eat?
Just like older termites, baby or larvae termites eat cellulose. But worker termites will break the cellulose down since larvae can’t digest it alone.
Life Cycle of Baby (Larvae) Termites
Aforementioned, baby or larvae termite molts many times before they’re completely developed. With this process, the larvae will become either soldiers, workers, or reproductives depending on the needs of their colony.
But in most cases, termite larvae turn into worker termites, since their colonies need a higher request from this caste. But, these termites will become soldiers when needed.
In addition, larvae, which turn into alates will have the ability to reproduce as well as develop wings.
When the eggs of the termite hatch, the hatchlings are commonly known as termite larvae or baby termites.
Every larva will go over a series of molts to turn into a reproductive, worker, or soldier termite. Molts is the process of developing and shedding its exoskeleton. In fact, the queen and king of termites will utilize chemical signals or pheromones to appoint the role every larva will be playing in their colony.
As stated above their role will depend on the needs of the termite colony. A larva that grows into workers may possibly:
- Remain a worker termite,
- Grow into a soldier termite, or
- Develop wings in the course of turning into reproductives or known as nymphs.
Termite larvae which become nymphs may possibly molt in order to become alates or primary reproductives which develop eyes and grow wings for swarming. Or a secondary reproductive which supports the egg production in the colony.
If wanted, other workers might molt to turn into a tertiary reproductive which support the production of the queen’s eggs.
It is important to note that not all termites will continue to molt and will become reproductives.
When the colony demand for more worker termites, some nymphs may molt in a hostile way. As a result, they will lose their wings bud and turn into false workers or pseudergates.
The Difference Between Termite Larvae and Other Insects
Termite Larvae vs Maggots
Even though they’re characteristically much smaller at around 2.55, termite larvae stand an even similarity to maggots. The baby or young termites don’t have a hard outer shell of the older ones. But in most aspects, termite larvae look like the adults.
Maggots, on the other hand, guise nothing like the older flies which they will eventually turn into.
As a matter of fact, they are a completely different color and don’t have wings.
Thus, if you notice a group of tubular and small insects of fluctuating sizes, most probably it is juvenile and adult termites. If the swarms have a uniform size, there’s a higher possibility that those are maggots.
Just like termite larvae, maggots have soft and white bodies as well. But unlike termite larvae, they don’t have a different head.
However, if they do it won’t be visible. Moreover, they might have legs, but the rest of their body has a tube-like shape. Maggots can be found in different rotting items such as decaying plants and even old food.
Termite Larvae vs Ants
Termites may possibly bear a resemblance to ants.
But the ant’s body has a narrow waist, while the termite’s body is straight and smooth at the same time. Most homeowners are not certain if the creature invading their property is ant or termite. Meaning to say, differentiating ants and termites can be very confusing.
With that said, termite’s larvae and ant’s pupae are extremely different. However, if you are not sure if you have termites or ants, it is best to look at the larvae. Better yet, seek help from a professional termite inspector.
As what mentioned earlier, the larvae of termites bear a resemblance to smaller versions of adult nymph and worker termites. In addition to that, they have antennae, legs, segmented and separated head.
Ant pupae is looking like transparent adult ant, and definetly has some similariaties with termite larvae, but at the same time it’s very different. Close inspection will help you to understand what kind of insect you have.
Termite Larvae vs Beetles
Termites aren’t only the insects that eat wood. Beetles, on the other hand, look very different to termites. In fact, beetles have harder and darker bodies, whereas, the termites have softer bodies. Not only that they are also protected with fine hair.
Beetles larvae, especially powderpost larvae are white in color and c-shaped. Along with their backs, these creatures have small spines.
If you’re not sure if the larvae that you have spotted is termites or beetles, it’s best to hire a professional exterminator.
Termite Larvae Control – How to Kill Them[hire pest=” Termite “]The nematode is a proven remedy that helps in killing termite larvae. This remedy is non-segmented and small worms which are parasites to several home pest. However, nematodes must be planted and kept in areas where they’ll not be spoiled by the sun’s UV rays.
Larvae termites aren’t dangerous as older species of termites. But when they’re not treated and identified immediately, they may possibly cause a significant amount of damage in your property. Thus preventive measures are needed.