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5 Bugs That Look Like Termites and How to Identify Them

bugs that look like termites

Termites are a common pest that can cause a lot of damage to your home if they are not treated properly.

However, there are several bugs that look like termites and can be difficult to tell apart.

In this blog post, we will discuss 5 bugs that look like termites and how to identify them.

We will also provide tips on how to get rid of these pests and keep them from causing damage to your home!

How to Identify Termites


Before we are able to compare bugs with termites there are certain things we should know. What does the termite body resemble?

They are incredibly large in their thorax and are largely the same height. It is typically brown though it may be white or black.

Swarmers have two wings. All 4 wings are the same size. During folding, their wings span two times as much as the termite's body.

Each termite has a double straight antenna. What are the damage to termites? The signs of the damage may change with the termites.

What Does Termite Look Like?

Most times you'll find savage termites that you can generalize, as termites are similar. In fact, they have more than 3,000 termites on the planet and forty are confined to the USA alone.

Although they appear almost always identical, each species possesses distinct appearances and behaviours. Most termites have a diameter of 0.5 to 1 inch.

They distinguish themselves by having straight antennae and long ovate thoraces. Different species have distinct hues depending upon colour.

Some have white colors whereas some have shades of black. The termite has large waists and short legs.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are found across America except for Alaska. As its name indicates, they reside underground and make nests inside the ground.

It may nest above ground or in dry structures. These species have been identified as the highest reproductively prolific termites.

In one colony, the population could reach 2 million. They're considered comparable to Formosan termites in property damage.

Because they have the highest population, the builders create unique mud tubes that have been crafted long enough that the people can access food supplies inside their houses.

Formosan Termites

formosan termites

It was reportedly assumed they were from Taiwan or Chinese. They were regarded the fatal to the property of their voracious wood eaters.

They build mound nests across walls and can hold more than 20,000 people. Once a problem has been identified they'll be hard to treat and eradicate.

They can be found at various places in the United States including Alabama, Georgia, and Hawaii.

Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites

These types can cause problems in the home. They don't need ground for surviving and would normally be positioned in wooden walls or under the roof.

They can even tolerate some moisture so they're often found near pipes in leaks.

They most likely reside in the southern California suburb and in the Southern States.

Dampwood Termites

dampwood termites

Termite infestation occurs in damp woodlands where the moisture is low and the soil has a high moisture content. This termite has a large size.

They rarely cause an infestation in homes, but when you are careful you may find them.

They usually occur in coastal and semi-arid areas like Florida.

Read Also: How to Get Rid of Flying Termite

Signs of Termite Infestation

Termites may be small, but they can cause big problems. That's why it's important to be on the lookout for signs of termite infestation.

Here are four signs that you may have a problem.

1. Drywood termite droppings

termite dropping

One of the first signs of a drywood termite infestation is the presence of their droppings, also known as frass.

Frass looks like tiny piles of sawdust and is usually found near windows, door frames, or baseboards. If you see frass in your home, it's time to call an exterminator.

2. Hollowed wood or wall

Another sign of termites is hollowed wood or walls. Termites eat wood from the inside out, so if you tap on a piece of wood and it sounds hollow, there's a good chance you have termites.

You may also see cracks in paint or wallpaper that resemble termite damage.

3. Mud tubes

Mud tubes are another sure sign of termites. These tubes are made by termites as they travel back and forth between their nests and food sources.

Mud tubes are usually found on the exterior of homes near the foundation or eaves. If you see mud tubes, it's time to call an exterminator.

4. Evident swarms

Finally, another sign of termite infestation is the presence of swarms. Termites typically swarm in the springtime when they're looking for mates.

If you see swarms around your home, it's time to call a professional pest control expert before things get out of hand.

5 Bugs That Look Like Termites

Now that you know the signs of a termite infestation, it's time to learn about the bugs that look like termites. Here are five bugs that resemble termites.

Carpenter Ants

carpenter ants

The bugs that are usually confused with termites are ants. The termite and the ant live together in a colony.

These social insects dig into forests. While termite food is eaten by the ants, they dig into the forest to find their home.

The type that is most similar to termites is the Carpenter Ant. Carpenter ants are wingless, about 0.5-1/2 inches thick, and darker brown and black.

Reproduction Ant has a set of wings and can be 3/8 inches long. The wings are long and the hinds are not similar in shape and size.

Carpenter ants have a defined waistline and an elbow antenna.

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants look the same as termites. Those Ants also prefer hiding in older timbers.

Like carpenters, these ants don't eat wood. Acrobat ants are very small — typically about eight to twelve feet in diameter.

They also have segments in their bodies compared to termites. The insect is known to raise its abdomen in threatening circumstances.

Acrobat antelopes have a heart shape. An indicator of an infestation can be seen in dirt and wood debris traces. Acrobat diets are the same as those of Carpenter ants.

Mostly they eat honeydew but eat sweets or meat too.

Carpenter Bees

carpenter bees

Carpenter bees, unlike termites, are separate insect types. Several female carpentry bee nests are found in the inner wood tunnel.

A few Carpenter bees occupy the same piece. Carpenter bees have funnel holes that can vary from 1 1/2 inches to 1/8 inches.

Not only does the bug look like termites, but the nest is also sometimes mistaken for drywood termites “kick out holes”.

Look more closely at this. Termites have a 1mm diameter and are therefore much smaller than the carpenter flanges. Under carpenter's bee holes a pile of sawdust can be found.

Powderpost Beetle

powderpost beetles

Does not seem similar to termites. I'm going to put this together for a reason. The damage can easily be mistaken for termite problems.

Powderpost beetle's bodies are interesting. The thoracic lobe covers the head. This occurs because the head faces downwards, and the chest acts as a shield.

This beetle lays eggs on seasoned wood, where they develop larvae. They remain in the woods for winter, safe to keep warm.

The larvae will eat wood until spring when the mature adult reaches its peak. Powder Post Beetles are frequently found inside rafters and in wood storage.

Flying Ants

flying ants

Flying ants refer to any insect that has wings and is not a specific species and can include any species of insect.

They are often confused with termites because of their tiny sizes and similar wings. Carpenter ants are the most common fly ants in the world, they exist around our houses and in homes.

Black ants also form in the soil. The breeding adult is the ant that flies the most frequently. It is used on airplanes to meet their future lovers.

Ants and termites look similar but have some distinguishing features. Typically the best identification is body shape like that of this example.

Ants have darker shades ranging from dark brown to dark brown.

What times of the day termites are most active?

Subterranean termites swarm primarily during the day, especially after it rains. They're most active around springtime.

The Formosan termite swarms at night, and they are particularly common in the late spring and summer.

Drywood termites may also be seen during the night, especially around lights.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Termites

What Bugs Look Like Termites with Wings?

Carpenter ants are commonly confused with termites because they both damage wood and swarm (fly around in large numbers) during their mating season.

However, winged carpenter ants are black or dark brown and have a narrow waist. Termites are pale in color and have broad waists.

Acrobat ants also look similar to termites but can be distinguished by their heart-shaped abdomens. These ants get their name from the way they raise their abdomens when they feel threatened.

What to do when you have a termite infestation

Take termites seriously. If you are beginning to see signs of an infestation, that likely means the colony has been present in your home for a few years now.

And if they're living in walls, it could result in serious damage to structural beams.

Call a professional pest control expert as soon as you detect termites on your property.

They may discover an extensive termite colony and years' worth of property damage or one of these lesser harmful look-alike pests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any bugs that look like termites?

Yes, there are several bugs out there. Carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, and flying ants are all bugs that can be mistaken for termites.

If you're ever unsure, it's always best to call a professional for help.

How do you tell if a bug is a termite?

There are several ways to tell if a bug is a termite. One way is to look at the body shape. Termites have broad waists, while carpenter ants have narrow waists.


To sum up, there are several bugs that look like termites. So whether you're looking at a carpenter ant, powderpost beetle, or flying ant, don't be too quick to assume it's a termite.

Knowing the differences between these bugs can save you a lot of time, money, and worry.

If you think you have found a termite in your home, the best thing to do is call a professional for help. Thanks for reading!

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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