3 Ways to Identify Termite Larvae

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3 Ways to Identify Termite Larvae
3 Ways to Identify Termite Larvae

Termites can pose a great risk to the structure and foundation of a house, as they are often made of wood. The presence of termite larvae can indicate whether the site is infested or not. Larvae can be identified by shape, color and size, and are often found with worker termites deep inside colonies. They can be confused with other insects, so it is important to understand the characteristics and attributes of this pest.


Method 1 of 3: Examining the larva

Identify Termite Larvae Step 1

Step 1. Note the format

The larvae have soft bodies, a very visible head on the body, six legs and straight antennae.

  • They tend to look a lot like worker termites and nymphs, less in body size, as they are much smaller than these two.
  • Termites can refer to ants, but they have a thin waist and bent antennae; they have smooth, straight bodies with straight antennae.
Identify Termite Larvae Step 2

Step 2. Examine the color

The coloration of the larvae is usually white and almost transparent. In this case, worker termites and nymphs also have these aspects. That way, the color alone won't be enough to tell if it's a larva or not.

  • White bodies with dark heads indicate welded termites, which are adult termites.
  • Dark bodies (mostly black or brown) can be book lice or ants. In the presence of wings, they are likely to be spawning termites.
Identify Termite Larvae Step 3

Step 3. Measure the bodies

Most larvae are less than 2.5 mm in length compared to a worker, who is usually around 6.5 mm. Some breeders, known as winged termites, can grow to 13 mm, but if this insect you're measuring is larger than 13 mm, it's probably not a termite.

The larvae are about the same size as the eggs they hatch from, which are white and very small. It can be difficult to find them as they are deep inside the colony. So when you find termites near a bunch of eggs, compare the size: if they're the same size, you've finally found the larvae

Method 2 of 3: Searching for Larvae

Identify Termite Larvae Step 4

Step 1. Identify adult termites

When you find adult termites, it means that there are larvae somewhere in the colony. Although there are a few different types of adult termites, you can identify them because of their soft, pale body. Workers and nymphs look like larger versions of larvae, while soldiers have a hard, dark head. Breeding termites that lay eggs have wings.

Identify Thermite Larvae Step 5

Step 2. Investigate the areas where termites live

Even though it may be necessary to call a professional exterminator to find them, you can do a basic inspection yourself for signs of infestation. Start by inspecting window sills, door and window frames, joists, and places where concrete and wood joins. It is also valid to look indoors, such as the basement, in the openings of the house and on the porch. Use a flashlight to look in cracks and darker spaces.

Termites usually live deep inside walls and can infest a house for years without being noticed. Even though there are no external signs, it does not mean that the house is free of infestation

Identify Termite Larvae Step 6

Step 3. Listen to the walls

Tap the wall lightly with a screwdriver and see if you hear any hollow noise coming from inside. This noise will indicate that something is living inside the wood.

Identify Termite Larvae Step 7

Step 4. Open the mud tubes

Perhaps termites build these tubes, which serve for them to move between areas of the colony. They look like branches or mud lines that run up the wall or from the base of the wall itself, and you can break one of them to see if there are any wood eaters inside. Even an empty tube will not rule out the possibility that they are in some other part of the house.

Identify Termite Larvae Step 8

Step 5. Call an exterminator

Because they are insects that live well inside a structure, they usually leave the larvae inside the safest parts of the nest. The extent of the infestation will only be accurately assessed by a pest control professional. Call him in, as he will actually be able to tell if you are dealing with termites or other pests, as well as he will be able to identify where the larvae are.

When in doubt, the best way to know which type of larva or insect is infesting the house is to grab some with a glass jar and show them to the exterminator

Method 3 of 3: Knowing the difference between termite larvae and other insect larvae

Identify Thermite Larvae Step 9

Step 1. Compare termite and ant larvae

It is easy to confuse termites with ants when they are in adulthood. On the other hand, the larvae of the two are quite different. If in doubt as to whether it is one or the other, try to inspect the larvae, if you can find them first.

  • Termite larvae look like a smaller version of workers and nymphs; they have segmented head, legs and antennae.
  • Ants look like caterpillars: they don't have legs or eyes, nor do they appear to have a segmented head. In addition, his entire body is covered in hair.
Identify Termite Larvae Step 10

Step 2. Learn to identify book lice

Like ant larvae, book lice are small and white, but they only grow to 1.5 to 3 mm in length. Regarding food, instead of the wood itself, they feed on fungi present in damp environments, whether in wood, books or other things that contain starch.

  • If there is no damage to the wood or any of the other signs of termites, it is likely that the infestation is from this parasite. To make sure of this, catch some of them and take them to pest control.
  • The places where you can find them, besides books: newspapers, moldy food and grain, old wallpaper, cardboard boxes and other products made from paper. For comparison purposes, termites are often found in walls, piles and wood stumps, gaps and other places where there is wood.
Identify Termite Larvae Step 11

Step 3. Find out if the damage to the wood was done by beetles

Termites are not the only wood-eating insects. There are wood borers, which are very different from termites, having dark and rigid bodies ā€“ some species are covered with fine hairs. The drills are white, with a ā€œCā€ body shape, and have small saws on the back.

The best way to tell if you are dealing with borers or termites is to call an exterminator. They may be able to identify the plague based on the pattern of damage it has done

Identify Termite Larvae Step 12

Step 4. Make sure they are not maggots (fly larvae)

Maggots are another type of larva, but the difference is that they turn into flies when they grow. Like termites, they are white with soft bodies, but what makes them different from termite larvae is the absence of a head and, even if they have one, you cannot see it.

They are often found in decaying materials such as old food, rotting plants, and so on


  • Termite larvae will starve if workers are killed, as they are the ones who feed them. Look for a fumigant or exterminator to destroy the colony.
  • Nematodes, parasites that are harmless to humans, feed on these larvae. You'll be able to get rid of them by spraying nematodes on the affected areas.
  • If you've found adult termites, there are probably larvae somewhere inside the colony or structure they're in.
  • When you find termite larvae, you must learn to exterminate the colony. Call an exterminator to help you.

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