What Color are Termites?

Using Color to Identify Termites

Although there are over 2,600 species of termites worldwide, most problems in the U.S. are caused by drywood, dampwood, subterranean, and Formosan termites. Like many other wood-boring insects, these pests cause damage ranging from unsightly holes to dangerous structural issues.

Appearance of Worker Termites

Termites of all species vary in appearance based on their role in the nest. Workers are in charge of gathering food and look similar in all of the four major U.S. species. They are wingless, soft-bodied, and range in color from light caramel to milky white. However, insect color and appearance is typically of little practical value to help a homeowner identify termite species.

Appearance of Soldier Termites

While soldiers tend to stick closer to the colony, residents may also see them around homes. Insects of all termite species in this role have beige bodies with large, dark heads and mandibles. Termite professionals usually rely on the appearance of termite soldiers to determine the various species of termites.

Appearance of Flying Termites

Homeowners are most likely to encounter flying termites, also called swarmers. Generally, swarmers appear in the spring and summer and take flight in huge groups to mate and start new nests.

Swarmers of each species vary somewhat in color. Drywood termites typically have red or brown bodies. Dampwood termites tend to be light yellow or tan. Similarly, Formosan termites are yellow-bodied, though they are distinguishable thanks to their slightly hairy wings. Identifying termites is not an easy task; leave it to your pest management professional

Can Termites Be Black?

Termite swarmers can be black. Swarmers of the most common species, subterranean termites, have black bodies and clear, veined wings. Drywood swarmers are generally not dark black in color.