Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

Termites are common and do billions of dollars’ worth of damage to homes and businesses each year. Just about everyone knows about termites and their destructive tendencies, but how much do you really know about them? Would you like to know more? We’ve got the answers to some frequently asked questions about termites.

Man standing in kitchen smiling and giving a thumbs up

  • What do termites eat? This seems like an easy question because everyone knows that termites eat wood. Technically, though, that answer is not quite right. When termites eat wood, what they’re actually after is the cellulose inside the wood. Cellulose is found in other things, too, like drywall, paper, cardboard, and cloth. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on those things as well as the wood in your home, always vigilant for signs of termite infestation.
  • Do termites fly? Some termites fly. These are reproductive termites called swarmers, and they only have wings for a short time in their lives.
  • Are termites the same thing as flying ants? No, these two species look similar, and both have four wings, but there are some key differences. Termite wings are all the same size while flying ants have front wings longer than their back wings. Termites are tan or beige, depending on the type of termite, but flying ants are typically black or red. Ants have a thin waist, with a constriction between the abdomen and the thorax, but termites have no waist. Finally, termites’ antennae are straight, while the antennae of ants are bent.
  • Why do termites lose their wings? Termites use their wings to fly a short distance, locate a new home, and find a mate. Once they’ve accomplished these goals, they shed their wings and get to work creating a new colony.
  • What do termites look like? Termites are small, typically between ¼ and 3/8 of an inch in size, depending on the species. They’re typically light-colored, with 2 pairs of white or translucent wings that are the same size.
  • How long do termites live? A typical worker termite lives for about two years. However, a colony of termites can continue to grow and survive for many years if it isn’t disrupted because a termite queen can live for several decades.
  • Do termites live alone? Termites would not be able to survive if they were living alone. The life of a termite is structured around the colony, and they live cooperatively with each other. They have a very organized society and are quite successful.
  • What is a termite colony? Termite colonies are groups of termites ranging from several thousand into the millions. Sometimes termite colonies are underground, but some species of termites build impressive mounds.
  • What is the social structure of a termite colony? A termite colony works within a caste system. The king and queen are the founders of the colony, and their job is to reproduce to keep the colony going. Some other termites in the colony will also be able to reproduce, and in this way, they support the queen’s efforts. There are also soldier termites, who defend the colony against attack. Worker termites make up the bulk of the colony. They’re responsible for building and maintaining tunnels, feeding soldiers, young termites, and reproductive and foraging for food.
  • Do termites bite? While termite jaws may look capable of biting, they don’t purposely bite humans. Because their vision is poor, soldier termites may accidentally bite or lightly pinch your skin with their massive mandibles. Termites are herbivores, feeding only on plant matter.
  • Do termites spread disease? Termites might sometimes carry mold and fungus to a tree, but they do not transmit diseases to humans.
  • Why do termites swarm? Termites swarm so that they can find new homes and begin new colonies. They can swarm year-round, but by far, the most swarming occurs in spring after it gets noticeably warmer and in the early fall, September – October, particularly after any heat waves.
  • Do termites naturally go away after the swarming season? Unfortunately, no. Termites make themselves comfortable in your home, which provides an abundance of food for their colonies. The only way to get termites to go away is to force them out, with the help of a termite control experts.
  • Are termites really that big of a problem? Yes! In fact, they cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage and repair costs each year. They damage more homes than fire, tornadoes, and floods.
  • What are some signs of a termite infestation? If you’ve got termites, the first sign might be the bugs themselves, or it might be dead termites or termite wings. Mud tubes on the outside of your home are another sign, and so is wood that sounds hollow.
  • Is there anything good about termites? Yes! Termites in the wild perform a valuable service, turning dead wood into nutrients and helping the soil stay moist. In fact, they’re so useful in the rainforests that scientists speculate they could help buffer against climate change. Additionally, some termites are amazing architects, building mounds as large as 8 feet tall and 30 feet across.

Even though termites can be beneficial in the wild, there’s nothing beneficial about a termite infestation in your home. At MightyMite Termite Services, we perform termite inspections to ensure that your home is free of termites. We also work hard to help you keep your home safe from termites, using naturally derived treatments, and have a low impact on the environment. We diagnose and treat infestations with the most effective methods and unmatched warranties, solving your termite problems the first time with an industry-best “no call-back rate.” Combined with our experience, technology, and highly trained professional staff, that makes us the leading extermination company in the Bay Area. We understand that your home is your most important investment, so we work hard to provide excellent service, utilizing best practices to solve our customers’ termite problems in Northern California. For more information, call us today at 408.335.7053, email, or contact us through our website.