What Do Termites Look Like?

Surprisingly, there are many different species of termites. While each species has its distinct characteristics, most termite species feature similar qualities in their appearance. If you’re asking the question, “What do termites look like?” then you’re in the right place!

For instance, termites are tiny insects though they are visible to the human eye. In particular, termites can come in different shapes and sizes, depending on their role in the colony. For example, worker termites can appear as white ants. In contrast, swarmers, or reproductive termites, are more extensive, darker in color, and have wings.

Body Type: Termites feature soft bodies with straight antennae.

Color: The color of termites can range from white, cream-colored, or opaque to dark brown. Worker and soldier termites are often a lighter color, and swarming termites appear darker.

Size: Typically, termites measure between ¼ to ½ inches in length.

Identifying Different Termite Species

Three common termite species within North America are dampwood, drywood, and subterranean termites. All three species can cause severe damage to properties if left untreated, though their appearance and habits differ. Keep reading to learn more about how to tell the difference between each termite species.

what 2 Dampwood termites look like

What Do Dampwood Termites Look Like?


Ultimately dampwood termites are the largest termites within the United States. In fact, swarmers are winged reproductive stage termites and can be 25mm long, including their wings. Even the soldiers and immature termites can be as large as 20mm.


Another key point, dampwood termites feature a large head with pincers in the front. Typically, dampwood termites are brown. However, their color can range from dark to light brown and can have a reddish color near their abdomens. Immature termites are usually cream colors.

Behavior & Habits

Dampwood termites usually enter a structure through wood that touches the ground, because they can’t touch sunlight. The burrow, mainly when the wood is decaying or holding excess moisture. Because termites need regular water contact or high humidity to survive. Typically, dampwood termites live along the Pacific coast, Southern Florida, and the Southwest United States. A dampwood termite colony consists of around 4,000 members. Specifically, they swarm to reproduce. The most obvious visible sign of an infestation is the presence of termites discarded wings around your window sill and entry doorways. Visit our pest library to learn more about dampwood termites.

what do drywood termites look like?

What Do Drywood Termites Look Like?


First, drywood termites can range in size depending on their age. Usually, they are between ¼ inch to ⅜ inch in length.


For the most part, drywood termite workers are white or opaque in color. Also, soldiers feature large mouthparts with visible teeth. Meanwhile, swarming drywood termites have wings, and their body color can appear from light brown to dark brown.

Behavior & Habits

Drywood termites create their colonies within the wood and other cellulose materials. Unlike dampwood termites, drywood termites do not need much moisture to survive. Drywood termites live in coastal, southern, and southwestern states. Their colonies consist of approximately 4,800 members. Drywood termites may leave piles of frass or feces near doorways, windowsills, or other entryways. You may see flying termites or notice an infestation by their discarded wings. Click here to read more about drywood termites.

What do termites look like?

What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?


To begin with, subterranean worker termites can measure between ⅛ to ⅜ inch in length and are the smallest termites. In fact, soldiers are the same size in length, though they have larger heads with fierce pinchers. Full-grown reproductive subterranean termites are about 1 inch in length.


Subterranean termites may have different body colors. Although, workers are pale and cream-colored. Soldiers appear similarly, though they have brown heads. As well as, the primary reproductive termites are either brown or black.

Behavior & Habits

A mature subterranean termite colony can have between 60,000 – 2 million workers. Subterranean termites live underground and build their colonies where moist soil is accessible. Visible mud tubes along the foundation of a building are a tell-tale sign of a subterranean termite infestation. Mud tubes allow the termites to control the temperature and humidity levels for their colony. Learn more about subterranean termites in our pest library.

Termite Control

Termite infestations can go undetected for an extended period. Unfortunately, this allows termites to cause significant damage to structures throughout the United States each year. Regular inspections and termite control can save you and your property from costly repairs. Call A-1 Bonded Termite at 714-502-9230 or fill out the form on our contact page to schedule your inspection.