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What do household termites look like?

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Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes) are a species of termite native to the eastern United States. They are one of the most destructive species of termites in North America. As their name suggests, these termites live underground in colonies, where they construct elaborate tunnel systems to forage for food and moisture.

Eastern subterranean termites primarily feed on wood and other cellulose materials, making them a significant threat to wooden structures, including homes, fences, and other wooden constructions. These termites can cause extensive damage if left unchecked, often going undetected until significant structural damage has already occurred.

What do eastern subterranean termites look like?

Eastern subterranean termites have a distinctive appearance that distinguishes them from other species of termites. Here are some characteristics:

  • Size: Eastern subterranean termites are relatively small compared to other termite species. Workers typically measure around 1/8 inch (3-4 mm) in length.
  • Color: They are typically pale or creamy-white in color.
  • Body: Their bodies are soft and somewhat translucent. They lack the hard exoskeletons of many other insects.
  • Antennae: Eastern subterranean termites have straight antennae that are beaded or segmented.
  • Wings: Reproductive alates (winged individuals) have two pairs of wings that are roughly equal in size. These wings are shed after a swarming event, so you may find discarded wings around windowsills, door frames, or other light sources where the alates were attracted.
  • Soldiers: Soldiers of Eastern subterranean termites have larger, more elongated heads with prominent mandibles (jaws) for defense.
  • Eyes: Unlike some other termite species, Eastern subterranean termites have poor eyesight and are often blind.

These characteristics help distinguish Eastern subterranean termites from other types of termites and other insects. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, it’s essential to consult with a professional termite control expert in Miami for proper identification and treatment.

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