In contrast to termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood and other cellulose-based materials, but instead simply excavate living quarters and hatching chambers that are usually quite limited in extent.
Reproductive termites are similar but have wings. Termites are weak flyers and will only attempt to fly if the air is still and there is high humidity without the likelihood of rain. The largest member of the termite family is the queen. She can be up to 4 inches long and lays up to 4 eggs a minute! If she dies, one of the reproductive termites takes her place.
The female reproductives may thousands of eggs. These eggs hatch and pass through an immature stage (larvae) before finally differentiating into either a worker, soldier or reproductive caste.
The series of galleries (area hollowed out) created by termites in wood give a honeycomb appearance. These galleries follow the wood grain. Interior galleries contain greyish specks of excrement and earth, called frass.
Set in the ground, termite barriers will poison termites working their way to the wood of your home. A termite services company can install termite barriers under driveways or in and around a home`s foundation during the construction process and can also set termite barriers in the ground of an existing home.
Some people think that termite identification is difficult but if you know what you are doing it is can be done easily. Termites live in large family units with between several hundred and several million family members. They work together in an organized system to find food sources.
It is useful to know for termite identification that almost every type of termite lives in the dark, apart from the winged ones that fly or any termite when they are constructing something. This means that you normally only see them when something is open or broken. When they are exposed, termites attempt to follow their scent trails to get home. If they can`t get home, they either squeeze themselves into a small gap or wander around looking lost until they find another termite.
A typical termite family will include soldiers. These have long heads and powerful jaws. Soldier termites defend the family unit. If you can find some soldier termites, this makes it easier to know whether you have a termite problem. Solders only make up part of the termite population so you will have to look carefully for them. Most termites are workers. These are about 2/5 inch long and are recognizable by their soft, light-colored bodies. They look a bit like moving grains of rice.
Winged termites are darker. Termites have six legs, all of which are short. On ants, the front wings are longer than the back pair and they don`t break easily. Termites have four wings of equal size (twice as long as the body) which do not break easily. Ants have narrow and defined waists. Termites have thick undefined waists. Ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have straight ones which resemble tiny strings of pearls. They do not have eyes unless they are winged termites. Termites are actually more closely related to the cockroach family rather than the ant family.
The subterranean termite is very closely associated with the soil, which is its main source of life-sustaining moisture. Termite food consists of cellulose obtained from wood and wood products. Decaying damp wood is preferred but termites are also able to feed on sound, dry lumber.