Termites are the scavengers of the insect kingdom. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other insect scavengers, but termites are somewhat unique. Termites job in the ecosystem is to break down fallen and rotting trees. There are very effective at this. The only problem is that also means that they are very effective at breaking down wood structured homes. So, as a home owner, it is important to know what termites look like. Subterranean termites are usually a golden yellow to brown translucent in color, with straight ridged bodies. They are found in or near wood.
Termites usually do not have wings, but when they do, they are longer than their body. Subterranean termites are a golden translucent yellow, but dry wood and damp wood tend to be more dark brown. Also the winged reproductives are usually darker in color as well. Their exact look and shape is determined by their caste and job.
Subterranean termites live, just as their name implies, underground. Their bodies are fragile and subject to drying out. Because of this, they will stay underground where the air is damp and humid. To forage for food above ground, they will build mud tubes to carry the damp air with them.
Identifying subterranean termites starts with understanding their caste system. They have three castes. These castes are workers, soldiers and reproductives. Workers are the majority of the population and are tasked with foraging for and transporting food, building tunnels and tubes, and feeding the other termites. These termites have no wings, are translucent yellow, and a small head. Soldier termites are tasked with protecting the colony. They look much like the workers, but have a very large head and mandibles. Reproductives are the king and queen, who lays the eggs, and alates, or winged reproductives. These alates have wings and are darker in color than the rest of the colony.
Often, during swarming season, the winged reproduces are confused with the winged reproductives of ants. The major difference is that the ants have waists, or narrow parts in their body that separate the head, thorax and abdomen. Termites have a straight body with no waists. The termite wing is longer than their body and the two wings fold over one another. Ant wings are just as long as their bodies and do not fold into one another. If you’ve found termites in your home, contact a Tulsa pest control company to treat them.
Dry wood termites, like all termites are cryptic in nature. They tend to stay inside their colony, which is located inside a piece of wood. Most home owners don’t know that they are there unless the damage is severe, or if they are seeing alates. The visual differences between subterranean termites and dry wood termites is minute. Winged alates have two veins in the subterranean termites, but three to four on the dry wood termites.
Telling the difference can be tough. The reason is that workers from all three types of termites are virtually identical. The soldiers are slightly different, but only make up around one to two percent of the population. Alates are usually the easiest to find, depending upon the time of year, and have some differentiating characteristics. But these insects are very small, so exact identification is best left up to your Oklahoma pest control company.
Damp wood termites are also very similar to the other termites on this list. Their alates have up to five veins on their wings. Soldiers have a pronotum that is as wide or wider than their head. The pronotum is a plate just behind the head. These termites have a little bit of sparse hairs all over their bodies. This is an important clue for an Oklahoma pest control company.
The best way to tell the difference between damp wood and dry wood termites is their frass. Frass is their waste. This waste is formed into pellets and is forced out of the colony through frass holes. Dry wood termite’s frass will be hexagonal in shape. Damp wood termite’s frass will be round cylinders. This is because the damp wood frass has more moisture in it, making it bloat, losing its shape.
HOW TO DEAL WITH TERMITES
Identifying termites is the first step to getting rid of them. This is the hard part because they are hidden inside the framework of your home. These insects survive on stealth, so once you’ve identified them, eliminating them can sometimes be just as difficult. This is why you will need a reputable Tulsa exterminator to get the job done for you. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we can help. We give free estimates, so give us a call!