What Do Termites Look Like?

Listed below are some characteristics of termites: Soldiers, Workers, and Reproductives. Read about each in detail to know what to look for. You can also learn about the swarmer. Here are a few tips for spotting termite swarmers. Keep in mind that workers are most active during the spring and summer months. They are also the most susceptible to damage. Termites that swarm are generally the most difficult to detect.


The workers of termites are social insects, and many of their characteristics have been studied in recent years. Social polymorphism in termites is closely related to that of bees. Researchers have found that workers of both species are able to help each other in various ways. These traits may influence their reproduction, and it may help explain why termites are so social. However, it is not possible to make any firm conclusions about their phylogenetic relationships.

In wood-dwelling termites, competition between workers and reproductives is not widespread. The primary reproductives of these species do not compete for food, so competition among workers for food is generally low. In contrast, the reproductives of drywood termites undergo a developmental stage, including several nymphal instars. Competition for food and nest space becomes more intense during this stage, as one worker inhibits the development of the other.


Soldiers look similar to termites but they have distinct differences. Formosan termites, for example, have sharp mandibles. Termites from higher families have small and large soldiers. This dimorphism means that the large soldiers do heavy defense work. The smaller soldiers, on the other hand, do light duties and direct worker traffic. These soldiers are suited to defend against smaller ants. In addition, soldiers in some species lack aggressive qualities.

Despite their cryptic appearance, soldiers appear in most genera and species. Termites have a soldier caste, which is synapomorphic with the ant clade. However, the origin of this caste is largely unknown. There are several hypotheses explaining the evolution of the soldier caste. One hypothesis is that soldiers evolved from helpers, which may reflect their greater vulnerability to intercolonial reproductive warfare.


There are three different types of reproductives in termites: the primary, supplementary, and neotenic. Primary reproductives derive from a female called the queen. Secondary reproductives, on the other hand, are the offspring of the workers. These individuals have no wing pads, but they have the same reproductive functions. As a result, they may produce more eggs than the primary queen. The reproductives of a colony may continue to thrive even if the primary queen dies.

Reproductives of termites are distinguished from their workers by a special molt. Although the number of molts a worker must undergo in a lifetime is unknown, termites exhibit stationary and regressive molts. Such behavior may result from coordination between hemimetabolous life cycles and interactions between related individuals. Nevertheless, it is possible that interactions between the reproductives and progenies are essential to the organization of the reproductive division of labor.

Termite swarmers

What do termites look like? These tiny insects may resemble flying ants. However, they are different in many ways. A subterranean termite swarmer does not typically look for your home. Drywood termites, on the other hand, will look for openings in walls and windows. This could also mean they are infesting the exterior wood of your home.

These termite swarmers are the first sign of a termite infestation. The swarmers can be up to 3/8 inch in length, but they are not harmless insects. These winged termite reproductives are the fastest way to discover that a termite colony is close by. They are almost always a sure sign of a mature colony. You can use a microscope to determine what these winged reproductives look like. 


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