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What Do Termites Look Like To The Human Eye?

By June 20, 2024Termites
Termites on wood

Termites are among the most destructive pests that can invade our homes, causing significant damage if not detected early. Understanding what termites and their evidence look like to the human eye will help protect your property.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the different types of termites, signs of infestation, what attracts them, and how to prevent and handle termite problems.

Types of Termites

Recognizing the different types of termites can inform your plan! Swarmers are the reproductive members of a termite colony, often seen during mating seasons. They have transparent white wings, small bodies, and short antennae. These winged termites are crucial for the colony’s reproduction, capable of laying up to 25 eggs per minute.

Worker termites are soft-bodied and pale, ranging from creamy white to brown or black. When you see them in a group, they resemble tiny grains of rice moving together. They are responsible for building and maintaining the colony’s tunnels.

Then, the soldier termites have light brown bodies with darker heads and distinctive black pincers. They are tasked with defending the colony from predators and other threats.

Lastly, subterranean termites are found in soil and are the most destructive. They build extensive tunnel systems and eat through wooden structures, causing severe damage.

Drywood Termites: Drywood termites live inside the wood they consume. They can infest and severely damage wooden furniture and structures without the need for soil contact.

Termites with wings can be identified with the human eye.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

Detecting a termite infestation early can save you from significant damage and costly repairs. Here are some telltale signs to watch for:

  • Discarded Wings: If you find discarded wings around windowsills or doorways, it’s a clear sign of swarmers. Unlike flying ants, termites shed their wings after mating.
  • Hollow-Sounding Wood: When you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, it could be an indication that termites have eaten through it. This can compromise the structural integrity of your home.
  • Frass: Termite droppings, known as frass, resemble small wood-colored pellets. You often find these near the entry points of termites.
  • Mud Tubes: Termites build mud tubes to travel between their colony and their food source. These tubes protect them from predators and dry environments. Look for these on your home’s foundation or exterior walls.
  • Cracks and Bubbles in Paint: Termites can cause tiny cracks in walls and paint as they tunnel through wood. Bubbles in paint can also be a sign of termite activity.

What Attracts Termites?

Termites are attracted to cellulose, an organic compound found in wood, cotton, paper, and plants. Your home’s wooden structures, such as beams, flooring, and furniture, provide an abundant source of cellulose, making them prime targets for termite infestations.

Additionally, termites thrive in moist environments, so areas with excess moisture, like basements or leaky roofs, are particularly attractive to them.

How To Prevent Termites

Preventing termites from invading your home requires proactive measures like:

  • Reduce Moisture: Termites thrive in moist environments. Ensure your home’s exterior is well-drained and fix any leaks promptly. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas and ensure proper ventilation.
  • Make Repairs: Repair loose mortar around windows, rotted shingles, and damaged fascia. Keeping your home’s exterior in good condition reduces entry points for termites.
  • Inspect Regularly: Walk around your home regularly to inspect for mud tubes, bubbles in paint, and other signs of termite activity. Early detection can prevent severe damage.
  • Keep Space Between Soil and Wood: Ensure there is at least an 18-inch gap between soil and wooden parts of your home. Store firewood and other wooden materials at least 20 feet away from the house to reduce the risk of attracting termites.

When to Contact a Professional

If you suspect a termite infestation, it’s crucial to contact a pest control professional immediately. Termites can cause extensive damage quickly, and professional intervention can save you time and money in the long run.

A pest control expert can provide a thorough inspection, identify the extent of the infestation, and recommend an effective treatment plan.


By understanding what the various types of termites look like to the human eye and recognizing the signs of an infestation, you can take proactive steps to protect your home. Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and professional inspections are essential in keeping termites and other pests at bay.

If you need assistance, call Honor Services for expert recommendations and thorough home inspections in Melbourne, FL, and surrounding areas.

Michelle Shishilla

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