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Article posted on November 24, 2020

What Do Termites Look Like in Australia?

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Do you think you have found or seen Termites in your home? We can help you be sure with correct identification with this in depth article. Of course if you’re still unsure call us and we will visit onsite for identification.

Also, be sure to check out our Termite Identification pages

Termites are also commonly called white ants because they are often mistaken with ants. Termites are quite large compared to normal black ants commonly seen by homeowners around the home. Termites are slightly larger than ants and usually 0.7 mm – 1 cm in length. If you have found termites there is a good chance they have retreated the disturbed area. But don’t worry, they will be back! So, don’t spray them with fly spray or any DIY termite treatment products.

A Termite colony consists of

  • Worker Termites
  • Soldier Termites
  • Elates / Winged Reproductive
  • King
  • Queen and Nymphs (Babies)

Let’s show you exactly what each termite type looks like.

Worker termites

Workers work 24/7 gathering food for the family , They constantly consume wood and feed in throughout and back to the colony/nest. They feed the young and construct mud tunnels and gallery’s usually in the top 30 cm of soil in constant search for food. These termites feed on hard and soft wood throughout the ground or in some cases your home. If they find a way into your home its basically a big tree to them.

what do worker termites look like image

Worker termites are usually creamy white in colour and have a soft body,They do however have hard mouth-parts allowing them to eat through wood. Believe it or not these worker termites are blind and can be male or female.

Soldier Termites

Termite Soldiers are easily spotted by their large jaws used to defend the colony if disturbed, Chances are if you have found and disturbed termites , within a few minutes you will only see the soldier termites. When Termites are disturbed the workers will immediately retreat the area and usually go back underground quickly. Over time the termite workers will come back to the area when safe.

what do soldier termites look like image

These Termites defend the colony and have a large head usually gold/brown in color and black mandibles (Jaws) These jaws are used in defense to slash,cut, or crush common enemy’s like ants. These termites are also blind,wingless and have a soft body. As they have jaws for defense it is difficult for them to feed on wood like the workers, Worker termites will feed the soldiers liquid food (Previously consumed wood by the worker termites)

Reproductive Termites

termites nymphs nest image

Towards the end of summer large mature termite colony’s produce a huge amount of reproductives, These are larger than normal termites and stand out due to having elongated wing buds forming on their backs. These termites eventually molt and turn into winged sexually mature male and female termites commonly called elates or swarmers.

Swarming Termites

At certain times of the year thousands and thousands of swarming termites will fly out from their colony’s to start new ones. Yes that’s right, Termites are always on the move, After they fly out from their colony’s they can fly up to kilometers away and find a mate and reproduce into another thriving termite colony.

termite vs ant image

As described above these termite swarms can sometimes be in the millions and sometimes even form great clouds that darken the sky as the suns going down. These swarmers are attracted to light and commonly enter your ceiling through guttering and drop down through your down-lights. Although thousands or millions of swarmers fly out from the colony only a small amount survive (Usually 10%). Swarmers have a list of enemy’s to get through before finding a mate and settling down to form another colony. Birds, bats will feed on flying termites, Once they land they also encounter lizards , frogs, toads , ants or spider webs.

Queen Termites

Termite queens in established colony’s can be up to 2-3 inches long and are normally never seen as they stay in the nest usually in the base of a tree or under ground. The termite queen is basically a termite egg laying machine! Usually laying over 2000 eggs per day. She is spoilt fed by the workers and can live over a decade producing termites by the millions.

termite queen

Termite King

The termite king also assists with caring and feeding of the young and services the queen as needed.

king termite image

Do Termites Fly? Absolutely!

Check out this video at Danny’s (Pest-Ex Business owners)  home recently, After rain and a warm day the termites arrived in their millions. This proves no home is safe from termites.

pest ex taringa imageWhat do termites sound like?

Do Termites make a sound? Yes they do? Why ? Termites when disturbed will bang their heads to warn the other termites of danger and to retreat the area quickly! Here at Elanora Queensland we show you up close their exact sound. This video was filmed and discovered during a termite inspection.



Choose Pest Ex for your pest control and termite treatment needs because:

  • We offer unbeatable same day on site service and communication
  • We ensure all of our work adheres to Australian Standards and our products are environmentally friendly
  • Our pest controllers are qualified timber pest inspectors (Cert 3 – Pest management technical)
  • We have worked in the local area for over a decade, and have serviced over 7,000 satisfied customers
  • We work with home and business owners, and have experience with a wide range of different types of properties including retail centers, schools, hotels and cafes

If you have any termite concerns please get in touch.

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