What do termites look like?

The most common species of termite found living in the Lexington, Columbia, and the Midlands of South Carolina area is the Eastern Subterranean Termite.

When living in nature and away from people and their properties, termites, like many other pest species, can be beneficial. Termites are responsible for breaking down decaying plants, trees, and other plant matter made of cellulose - releasing their nutrients back into the soil. But, when these same termites are found feeding on structural wood inside a home or other building, they create serious problems. They must be quickly controlled. How an individual termite looks depends on what it’s “job” is within the colony, and what caste system it is a part of.


Worker termites make up most of a termite colony. They are the heart and soul of the colony and are tasked with gathering food for themselves and for the rest of the termite colony. This can mean their duties include gathering enough food to feed hundreds of thousands of termites. Termite workers have soft, creamy-white bodies; they are blind and have no wings. Worker termites spend their entire lives either in the pieces of wood they have invaded or under the soil in the nest. Worker termites are rarely seen by people unless a piece of infested wood is split open.


Soldier termites are aptly named because they have the responsibility of guarding the termite colony against danger. Soldiers have a slightly different appearance than the workers. They are larger in size and have elongated, yellow heads. Their legs are short while their jaws are large and powerful, easily used to defend themselves and their colony.

Reproductive Termites

The reproductive members of the colony are the largest members and are dark-brown to black in color. Reproductive termites have wings, which allows them to swarm from a mature colony in order to find a mate and start a new termite colony. After swarming from a mature termite colony their wings fall off and pile up on floors, window sills, or in doorways. These wings are a great indicator of the possibility that a termite colony is located near or in your home.

Helpful Termite Articles

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  • How do you prevent a termite infestation?

    Termites are moisture-seeking pests. Therefore, the best way to deter termite activity is to correct moisture issues found in and around your home. Listed below are some things you can do to help prevent termite activity:

    • Clear all gutters to allow rainwater to flow through them and to prevent water from backing up and seeping into the walls of your home.
    • Reduce moisture levels inside your home by utilizing dehumidifiers and ensuring that crawl spaces are properly ventilated.
    • Any water-damaged wood inside your home should be replaced.
    • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps and other piles of organic debris from our property.
    • Limit wood-to-soil contact located around the exterior of your home.
    • Trim trees and shrubs near the exterior of your home; make sure they don't touch your outside walls as this will help dry out the soil and make it less attractive to termites.
    • Repair leaky pipes, faucets, or fixtures located both inside and outside your home.
    • Leave a stone barrier between any soil or mulch and your home’s foundation.
  • How do you get rid of termites?
    The easiest and most successful way to eliminate destructive termites from your home or business is to contact a professional pest control company for assistance! At The Original Bugman Pest Elimination, Inc. of Newberry, we protect properties from wood-destroying termites through the use of Termidor®, the number one termite defense in the United States, and offer advanced termite treatment and control solutions for South Carolina.

    When you reach out to us for help, our professionals provide the support needed to ensure that your property’s termite infestation is eliminated and that they will not return in the future. To learn more about our highly-effective termite elimination services or to get started with our termite protection today, call us to schedule a service visit! One of our professionals will be happy to walk you through the steps of our commercial termite control process.
  • What are the signs of termites?

    Identifying a termite infestation can be trying, as they attack wood structures from the inside out and are rarely visible. To help you determine the presence of termites on your property or in your home sooner rather than later, we have provided below a few common signs of a termite infestation:

    Termites create mud tubes. They travel from their underground colonies to food sources inside mud tubes that are about the width of a pencil. They are often found running along the ground toward your home and on your foundation or basement walls.

    Termite swarms occur when reproductive members emerge from a mature colony in order to find a mate and create a new colony.

    If you see piles of wings along window sills, porches or outside, this is a good indication there has been a termite swarm and that a colony is nearby.

    Have you discovered damaged wood? Termites are initially attracted to water-damaged wood. Though, over time, they will move on to attack sound wood and other items like wallpaper, books, insulation, and even brick. Signs of damaged wood include spongy-feeling floors; doors and windows that no longer open and close smoothly; buckling ceilings; wood that sounds hollow when tapped on; or wood that is easily pierced with a pen or knifepoint.

  • How do you tell the difference between swarming termites and flying ants?

    Termite swarmers and flying or winged ants are often confused with one another. It is important to know the difference between the two so proper treatment can be secured.

    Listed below are some easy ways to spot the differences between winged termites and winged ants:

    • Termites have straight antennae, while ants have bent or elbowed antennae.
    • Termites have thicker, less-defined waists and ants have pinched waists.
    • Termites have two pairs of equal-length wings; ants have front wings that are longer than their hind wings.
    • Termite wings are typically clear while ant wings are tinted brown.

    If you see any winged insect in or around your home or business and are unsure of what you are seeing, immediately contact the termite professionals found at The Original Bugman Pest Elimination, Inc. We will come to your aid to determine the species of insect that has invaded your property and quickly implement an effective treatment solution.

  • Are termites dangerous?
    Termites pose no danger to people as they don’t bite or sting and aren’t known to spread disease. In fact, they rarely come into direct contact with people. But, termites are considered dangerous due to the fact that they can cause significant structural damage to homes and buildings in which they've built their nests.

    Termites feed on wood from the inside out. As a result, it can take quite some time for their presence to be revealed and, unfortunately, they are not usually discovered before their damage has become quite extensive. Termite damage can be serious and costly to repair and is often not covered by homeowner’s insurance policies.

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