Know What Termites Look Like? Every Home Owner & Renter Should Know This.


Do not mistake termites for white ants as many people do. They are actually quite different if you just learn a few key distinguishing features between the two.

The reason many people confuse the two is that the adult termite and certain adult ants both grow wings when they are ready to mate. At this stage in their lives (known as alate) they look quite similar.

Table of Contents

  1. Appearance of Different Castes of Termites (Soldiers, Queens, Workers)
  2. What Termite Swarmers or Winged Termites Look Like
  3. The difference in Appearance Between Ants & Termites
  4. Further Resources for Termite Identification:
Video explaining the differences in termite & ant appearances

Appearance of Different Castes of Termites (Soldiers, Queens, Workers)

Termites, like many other insects, have strong mandibles or jaws for their size. And like ants, termites can pinch you with their mandibles. However, unlike some ant bites, termite bites will NOT sting. You can learn more about termite bites here.

What Termite Swarmers or Winged Termites Look Like

The difference in Appearance Between Ants & Termites

Further Resources for Termite Identification:

  1. How to tell the difference between ant and termite alates
  2. Termite Sizes –

2 thoughts on “Know What Termites Look Like? Every Home Owner & Renter Should Know This.”

  1. Thanks for sharing what a termite looks like. I found a bunch of winged termites coming out of my window sill earlier this year in the spring. I thought they were some type of flying ant, but after reading your article I think they may have been termites. Now I’m a little worried because I went and bought some ant spray and went to town on the area. I haven’t seen any signs of them since, but since termites usually live inside the wood, should I get an inspection?

    • Bart, yes I would absolutely recommend an inspection. It sounds like you may have had drywood termites in your window trim / sill and they may have reached the mature alate stage, sprouted wings, and flew away to establish a new colony. The question is, did the termites emerge from your house or did they emerge from a tree in the neighborhood and attempt to setup residence in your home? An inspection is required to have a better idea. What you can do is take a screw driver and tap it along your window trim where you saw the flying termites last spring. Does it sound hallow? Tap all around the window so you have a reference point. Also, look for termite droppings or frass and keep an eye out for termite “kickout” holes. These are tiny holes that termites will make from inside the wood to the outside to clean out some of their droppings. If you find any termite kickout holes, excrement, or sounds of hallow wood during the tap test, please call or contact a professional (you can do that here) to perform a more thorough inspection. Even if you do not find any signs of termite activity on your own, it is still a good idea to have a professional termite inspection conducted. Be sure to tell him or her everything you remember about what you saw and the location. Best of luck to you and please come back and share any tips you learn, would love to hear some feedback, positive or negative.


Leave a Comment

I accept the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Featured on
Leading the way in termite information

Let's tackle termites together

Prevent termites
Identify Termites
Remove Termites

I paid way more for termite treatment than I'd like to admit. I hope this site helps you avoid doing the same.

Get a Free Estimate

You can answer a few questions to get free, no-obligation quotes from several pest control companies.

You can then compare them and save money.

Request Free quotes

Termite Advise

Termite control is something most of us don't think much about until there's a problem. I didn't think about it until I found out I had a termite infestation (later than I should have).

This website gives you some simple strategies to identify and prevent termites.

Contact Me

I don't have a newsletter set up yet, but please reach out to me with any concerns or questions.

Get in touch