Biology of Termites

Termite Identification

Successful Methods of Termite Control

Termites and Pesticides

Termite Treaments and Concerns for New Construction


The difference between Formosan termites and subterranean termites

If you’ve read the rest of this section already, you may be wondering what the difference is between a “Formosan” subterranean termite and the subterranean termites we’re talking about here. There are a number of differences that would matter greatly to you if you’re an entomologist, but if you are, than you already know the answer. For the rest of us, the simple answer is that Formosan termites have appeared to be more aggressive; although this may be just because they are in a new land—they were imported from China after World War Two (accidentally, of course)—and are driven by a biological instinct to dominate.

Identifying subterranean termites

Subterranean termites are generally smaller than both Formosan Termites and drywood termites, although this is not true all of the time, and should not be relied upon for identification purposes. Subterranean termites are a lighter shade than Formosan Termites, often having more coloration on their thorax than on their heads; the opposite is true with Formosan Termites.

  • Looking at the Wings: Once Again

    As usual, the best part of the termite to look at is the wings of the alates; for whatever reason, the wings seem to be almost like fingerprints for a species. The Eastern subterranean termite’s wings are distinctive for the three veins that run straight along the wing; two in the middle, and one just beneath the upper edge. Other termites either do not have any of these straight veins, or they have two at most.

Finding subterranean termites

Tracking subterranean termites is no different than tracking any other termite with the exception of drywood termites. For more thorough instructions on where and how to look for termites, visit our section on termite control

If you think you have subterranean termites…

If after reading this description you think you may have subterranean termites, either follow through to the termite control section, or go to the find an exterminator page for a termite control technician nearby.

Identifying Dampwood Termites

You shouldn’t have any problem identifying dampwood termites. Their bodies are fully brown, almost a deep bark color, and can easily be confused as beetles; if it wasn’t for the segmented thorax, it would actually be very hard to tell the difference between a dampwood termite and a beetle.

>>>More about Termites: Termite Biology

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