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Termite identification

Termites can be hard to detect, especially with an untrained eye. They are only ¼-½ inch long, and often remain hidden away in properties for years without being noticed. You are far more likely to spot the signs of termite damage before you spot termites themselves. As with any other pest, correct identification ensures the use of the most effective termite treatments so that you can avoid problems in the future.

Need help identifying termites? Call Rentokil today at 1-800-837-5520 for advice and to schedule a free termite inspection for your business.
Rentokil is your expert in termite control. Contact us here!

What do termites look like?

Termites are often confused with other pests, especially ants. Often, a suspected problem with termites turns out to be a problem with carpenter ants or fire ants because they look so similar.

Correct identification is crucial in determining the treatment needed to control them in your property. 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. Also, termite swarmers shed their wings, while ants do not.

Have you spotted termites in your workplace? As these insects are highly destructive, you should request a termite inspection from Rentokil right away.

Termite appearance

Termites differ in appearance based on caste, life cycle stage and termite type. Here are some of the key differences:

Subterranean Termites - Swarmers are winged termites that are dark brown in color and are ¼ - ½ inch in length. Worker termites measure about ¼ inch, have no wings and are cream-colored. Soldier termites have jaws to help them chew through wood and are generally the same color as workers but have brown heads.

Dampwood Termites - At about ⅜ - ¾ inch in length, Dampwood solider termites have a flattened brown head with long dark brown mandibles, or long teeth. Reproductives have dark brown wings and dark brown bodies. Nymphs are cream-colored with a spotted pattern on their abdomen

Drywood Termites - Swarmers have a pair of wings with a dark veined outline that falls off after they swarm. Their bodies can be up to 12 mm long. Drywood termite soldiers have large mouthparts and a cream-colored body with dark brown head.

Common signs of termites

Here are a few common signs of termites in your business that you might see (or hear):

  • Floor damage - Termites can damage laminate flooring and even skirting boards. Affected flooring may blister and sag in certain areas so checking underneath the flooring may help to uncover termite activity. You can also check if your floor feels more spongy and springs more than usual.
  • Discarded wings - As a termite colony matures, winged termites leave the nest to create a new colony. When the wings are no longer needed, they are shed. Because termites are attracted to light, wings often collect window sills.
  • Wall, ceiling, or foundation damage - Look for unexplained cracks in the walls, ceiling, and foundation. As termites consume cellulose found in timber within walls, visible cracks could be a sign of termite activity inside. Although most foundations are made of concrete, termites are able to squeeze into any crack within these concrete blocks, gaining access to wooden floor joists.
  • Sticking windows or doors - Termite-infested windows and doors may become difficult to open, as their tunneling may make the frames irregular and misshapen.
  • Outdoor damage - Decking and wooden fence posts in outdoor areas are at great risk of termites. Long-term damage could lead to collapse. Termites may also damage trees, leading to branches falling off.
  • Damaged roof tiles - Broken roof tiles are a great source of moisture, which will attract termites and allow them access further inside your business. Once inside, termites are able to maneuver through a property easily and eat away at wood components. Be sure to replace any damaged or water-logged roof tiles.
  • Weakened/hollow-sounding wood - Termites typically feed on wood underneath the surface, making them invisible. As they eat through the wood, they create hollow galleries underneath the surface. Wooden doors, furniture and wooden structural supports are all at risk and should be checked if you suspect termite activity.
  • Frass - Although they cause no damage, droppings are an obvious indicator of the presence of termites and the potential damage the pests can inflict in your property, as frass is the by-product of their eating.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls - Subterranean termite species build mud tubes, made up of soil and termite droppings. Look for mud tubes on exterior or basement walls. They are easy to spot with the naked eye.

Many businesses, even those built out of stone or brick, are at risk of termites. Structural supports and other building components will still typically be made out of wood and other cellulose-based materials, which is a great food source for termites.

As well as damage to wooden structures, termites have also been known to damage insulation, plaster, books and even swimming pool liners.

Worried about termite damage?

Termites eat 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. This means they are constantly consuming wood and damaging it. If left untreated, termites can seriously weaken the wood within your business leading to the possible collapse of the building.

To help guard your business against termites and avoid expensive repair bills, Rentokil offers comprehensive termite prevention plans to minimize the risk from this pest.

Contact us online or call us today at 1-800-837-5520 for a FREE termite inspection of your business.



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