Types of Termites

Termites are a major concern for homeowners in the Southeast and especially in South Carolina, and there are many types of termites. Wood structures are at high risk, but don’t think they’re the only ones. Termites are capable of navigating through plaster, metal siding and other materials to feed on cabinets, floors, ceilings and wooden furniture inside your home. Recognizing the signs of termite infestation could save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Termites can feast on your home for quite a while before you see any visible damage. Find out what to look for.





FAMILY: Kalotermitidae
Size: 1/8″ to 3/8″
Color: Very light to medium brown

Of the many types of termites, there are three different major types of drywood termite. They are not typically a common threat to homes, but drywood termites are usually brought into the home on furniture and other wood products.







FAMILY: Reticulitermes
Size: 1/4″ to 3/8″
Color: Very light to medium brown
Colony Size: 150,000 to 1,000,000


The Eastern and Southeastern Subterranean termites are the most common and destructive termite species in South Carolina. While they serve an important function in the environment by recycling trees & other wood products and returning nutrients to the soil, the problem is your home is constructed of termites’ favorite food: dead trees and other wood byproducts.




FAMILY: Rhinotermes
Size: 1/8″ to 3/8″
Color: Very light to medium brown
Forage Area: 300 feet
Eggs Laid: 80,000 per day
Colony Size: 350,000 to 3,000,000

The Formosan termite is an imported species typically found in South Carolina coastal towns such as Fripp Island, Isle of Palms and Surfside. It earned its nickname, the “super” termite, because of the size of its colonies and the speed at which it can consume wood.


Above-ground infestations of Formosans are more common than other termite species. Formosans’ colonies are also larger than our native subterranean termites, with a single colony containing several million very destructive individuals. Formosan queens have a life span of 15 years and are capable of producing up to 2,000 eggs per day. These hardy creatures feed mostly on wood and other cellulose-containing items, often infesting boats, high-rise condominiums and any other structure that contains wood.


Mature Formosan colonies can consume up to 13 ounces of wood per day, compared to four ounces per day for subterranean species. Believe it or not, they’ve also been known to chew plaster, asphalt, vinyl, linoleum and underground cables. Formosan termite coverage can be added to any Clark’s termite protection plan.




  • MUD TUBES on foundation & exterior walls, wood beams or in crawlspaces
  • CRACKED or bubbling paint
  • TEMPORARY SWARM of winged insects in your home or around your home
  • WOOD that sounds hollow when tapped
  • DISCARDED WINGS from swarmers



Use the diagram below to help you spot the between ant swarmers (aka flying ants) and termite swarmers.

Termite Swarmer Ant Swarmer
Straight Antenna
Elbowed Antenna
Broad Waist
Pinched Waist
Equal Wing Length
Unequal Wing Length
2 Body Segments
Unequal Wing Length
Soft Body
Hard Body
White to Light


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