How to identify Termites in Tampa Bay and Pinellas County

Living in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area of Florida, most people will encounter one of the four types of termites – either drywood, dampwood, or subterranean. The fourth type, mound building termites, are found predominantly in Africa, South America and Australia. There are approximately 3,000 species. Some species live in colonies with up to 7 million members. Termites are sometimes mistaken for ants, with a similar size and body structure. However ants have waists and termites do not. Ants also have elbowed antennae, while termites have beaded. Termites have three caste levels in which members function – King/Queen, soldiers, and worker. Body parts and shapes can actually differ by caste. All castes have antennae. They transmit and receive messages chemically, by way of antennae, through the release of pheromones.

termite control in pinellas countyThe king and queen are the only members of the species who can reproduce. They are also the only ones who have wings. When ready to mate, termites fly out, search for their potential mate's pheromones, shed their wings and start a new colony. During this flying/mating period, they are known as "swarmers". The queen produces new eggs daily. One species in particular can produce up to 30,000 eggs per day! From birth to death the termite goes through 3 different life stages. The stages consist of eggs, nymphs, and then the position of caste member. As they get older, nymphs go through a stage known as "molting" where they shed their old nymph bodies and appear as members of their new caste. The need of the colony actually determines what the nymphs grow up into. If more workers are needed, the nymphs grow into workers - likewise for soldiers. If the king or queen dies, a nymph might molt into a reproductive termite! Some kings and queens can live for between 20 and 30 years, but most other caste members only live between 2 and 5 years. Unlike other insects, the castes are not regulated by gender - there are males and females in each. Need help with identification of termites, contact Bob Killen for an inspection, or give me a call at 727-520-5904

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