Q. What do termites look like?
A. Termites are similar in size to ordinary black ants. They are generally pale, but some have darkened heads (soldiers). You are more likely, though, to see their mud tracks or timber damage before you see any termites. Termites like to stay hidden inside timber or their mud leads. The damage done to timber is typically in channels, or fluted.
Termites communicate by a faintly audible tapping noise made with their mandibles. When they sense danger to the nest, this noise is greatly increased in volume. By moderately thumping and listening, it is possible to locate areas of termite activity.
Four “castes” of a termite colony: workers are approximately 1/4-inch long, light-colored and wingless; soldiers have elongated heads with mandibles; supplementary reproductives are light-colored and wingless or have very short, nonfunctional wings.
Live in colonies underground, from which they build tunnels in search of food; able to reach food above the ground level by building mud tubes; dependent on moisture for survival.
Wood and other cellulose material.
Different rates of growth from egg stage to adult, depending on individual species; one queen per colony, which can lay tens of thousands of eggs in its lifetime, but most eggs are laid by supplementary reproductives in an established colony.
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