What Are Termites?


Subterranean termites (Latin name: Reticulitermes flavipes) are social insects that live in nests or colonies in the soil. Each colony consists of three forms or castes of individuals, which are the reproductives, works, and soldiers. Reproductives can be winged or wingless. The latter are found in mature colonies and serve as replacements if something happens to the primary reproductives. Soldiers are also wingless and resemble workers except they have large, rectangular, yellowish and brown heads with large mandibles (jaws).

The presence of winged termites, or their shedded wings, inside a home is a warning of a termite infestation. They can be differentiated from winged ants that have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, forewings are larger than the rear wings and not easily detached.

Typical signs of termite infestations include swarming of winged adults in the spring (March, April, May, June) and occasionally autumn (September and October). A “swarm” is a group of adult male and female reproductives that leave their nest to establish a new colony. Swarming occurs when a colony reaches a certain size. Emergence is stimulated when temperature and moisture conditions are favorable, usually on warm days following rainfall. Other signs of termite presence include “pencil size” mud tubes constructed over the surface of foundation walls mud protruding from cracks between boards and beams and hollow sounds from infested wood when it is tapped or extreme softness when probed with a knife. Termites feed slowly and there is no need to panic.

Is it a Termite or an Ant?


Many people confuse termites with ants because they are found in the earth and often move in ant-like file. Some people mistakenly call termites “white ants” when seen in the ground and “flying ants” when they are swarming. Notice the drawings showing the outline of the two insects. Ants have narrow waists and elbowed antennae. Identification tip – look for the narrow waist on the ant. A wide waist or a “white ant” or “flying ant” may mean termites. That’s trouble with a capital T!

Termites are known as the “silent destroyers” and can infest a home eating away at its wooden structure for years before the damage is ever noticed. These pests are typically discovered during a real estate inspection or termite inspection upon sale or purchase of a home or during a remodeling project. Once termites have entered a building, they do not limit themselves to wood. They can also damage paper, cloth, carpets, and other cellulosic materials, such as silicone rubber and acrylics, which are often used in construction.

If you suspect you may have a termite infestation or any other pest control concerns, Call Amco Pest Control today or complete our contact form for a FREE Termite Evaluation or Pest Control Estimate.