For clues to help distinguish termites from ants, examine the insects’ wings, waist and antennae. While both insects have two pairs of wings, termite wings are relatively equal in size. Ant wings tend to be longer in front and shorter in back.Ants also have a narrow, pinched waist, with three separate body parts. Termites’ waists are thicker and less distinct. In addition, ants’ antennae are elbowed, while termites’ are straight.

The first visible sign of termites may be a “swarm” appearing in the spring. If so, then it may only be the tip of the iceberg. Worker termites are active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, foraging for new food sources (wood) and gathering food to nourish the rest of the termite colony: queens, soldiers, reproductives and young.

Worker termites are soft and milky in color. They require a constant source of moisture to prevent dehydration. They travel through mud tubes that they build for protection from air and sunlight. Because they forage constantly for food, they often enter your home unseen and cause damage behind your walls.

The best defense against termites is both a good inspection and an ongoing treatment program (whether curative or preventive). The two main types of treatments for existing homes are traditional liquid barriers and termite baiting systems, both of which are offered by RJI Pest Control Inc.and will customize to fit your property.