A Straightforward Intro to Termite Species Identification

There are so many species of termites in the world, and they can be found on virtually every continent on the globe. They are typically divided into two groups: subterranean termites and drywood termites. 

Subterranean termites live in the ground and build elaborate tunnel systems to reach food sources above ground. Drywood termites, on the other hand, live entirely in wood and do not need contact with the foundation to survive.

In these two main groups, there are several different species of termites, each with its own distinct characteristics. Suppose you think you may have termites in your home. In that case, it is important to identify the specific species in order to inform pest control professionals to figure out the best course of treatment. 

Continue reading to learn more.

Termite Appearance

Termites are small, winged insects that vary in size and appearance depending on the species. Some common physical features include long, segmented bodies and two pairs of wings. However, there are some wingless variants of this termite. 

The color of termites also varies by species, but they are generally pale or creamy white. Some termites may have darker markings on their wings or bodies, though these are only obvious when you’re up close.

Termite Age

Termites go through three important main stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, and adult. The entire aging process can take a few weeks to several months. Here’s a look into the life cycle of the termite species:

  • Egg. During the egg stage, termites are known as nymphs. They are born without wings and are generally pale in color. Nymphs will molt several times before finally developing into winged adults. 
  • Larva. As larvae, termites have grown to a considerable size, developed their wings, and began to feed on wood. This is the stage where they cause the most damage to homes and other structures. 
  • Adult. Finally, adult termites can mate and reproduce. Once they find a suitable mating partner, they will shed their wings and create a new colony of termites. This can be quite a dangerous stage as reproduction can result in a potential infestation. 

Termite Types

There are several kinds of termites that can be found in homes and businesses. No matter the type, these insects are responsible for doing the majority of the damage to structures, so it’s best to get the area treated. A few examples of termite types are:

  • Queen and King. The queen is primarily responsible for laying eggs while the king fertilizes them. These two termites will usually be found in the center of a colony, dominating the nest of the termites.
  • Termite Soldier. As their name suggests, termite soldiers protect the colony from predators, invaders, and intruders. They have large mandibles to defend their home, which can be troublesome for most people.
  • Termite Worker. Termite workers are the backbone of a colony. They build nests, care for young termites, and gather food. Workers are also responsible for causing most of the damage to buildings since they’re always chewing on wood.


Termite species identification can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it is possible to identify the different types of termites by their physical characteristics. Knowing the basics is good information, and you can leave the rest to the pros.

In need of a termite inspection in Fresno? RidX Pest Control offers pest control and treatment against all pest types in commercial and residential properties. Get in touch with us today!