Insects get into our houses and actively ruin them. If you have noticed some species in your house, it is a must to know which kind of them you have. After reading this article, it will be easy for you to understand which ants or termites are in your house and furniture. And when you know the type, it is easier to buy the right treatment against the insects.


Brown ant or termite: how to distinguish them?

The first and the most important point is to understand whether you have termites or ants, as they have very different habits and physical characteristics. People often mix them because of the color – brown, light or dark. Sometimes the brown color is so light that people think the insects are white. So, there are three possible cases if you notice an insect of this color.



We will start from the most terrifying playbook if you see a light brown termite. It means that Formosan subterranean termites invaded your house. However they look different from subterranean species, they are from the same group. These insects seem to be the most aggressive and dangerous ones because of their behavior and spread. They are also the most destructive species as it is normal for them to destroy a wooden construction in three months. And we are talking about one colony.

  • These termites live in a usual way being divided into soldiers, alates, and workers.
  • The places where you can find them: The USA (South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Taxes and other states), Taiwan and China (the southern part). It is said that Eastern Asia is their origin.
  • The seasons when these insects are the most active are summer and spring.
  • The level of their house’s invasion frightens: one can find brown termite larvae not only in wood and paper products but in items made of plastic, rubber, and soft metals. Also, be ready to meet them in a trunk, utility pole, foam isolation, and log. An important detail is the presence of moisture in this place.

Now we ask you to pay attention to the size of insects. The largest termites with the smallest colony size living in North America are called dampwood. They are brown too, so the place of living is a sign which type you see.



  • If you have seen some species in rotting wood which you do not use at all, this is a sign. This means that the damage will not be dreadful.
  • The geographical position of these insects is Western states. So if you live in Oregon. Idaho, California, or Nevada – check whether someone eats your rotting wood.

The last variant is finding a dark brown termite. We are happy to congratulate you – there is a high probability these are not termites at all. Carpenter ants are the answer. Of course, termites can be dark brown too, no matter they are not very common in North America. So, the key is to tell one species from the other.

  • Size. Ants’ size varies from 0,5” to 5,8”, while termites are about 3,8” long counting with wings.
  • Wings. Ants’ wings are half-transparent with a reddish color, but termites’ ones are a little bit milky.
  • Damage. The level of injuring is different: ants do not eat wood while termites consume it in high amounts.
  • Bodies. Termites have more prolonged bodies than ants, and it can be seen at once.

Black termites in house: how dangerous it is?

The most common type of termites often mistaken with ants is called subterranean termites. The color of their bodies is solid black, so you can easily distinguish them from the previous variants. Eastern subterranean is also their name which you can use for searching for the treatment. An interesting fact about them is that there is not a worker cast among black termites.



A lot of people are afraid of black termites with wings. It seems like they are more dangerous than the other types. The truth is that depending on the caste, termites have their unique features. Those who alates use wings for making new nests and extending the population. 

Sometimes black termites without wings can be found, and their wings are spread over the place of living. This happens because these parts of bodies are used only for swarming. When it is finished, the termites break their wings to crawl more easily. This is the main difference from ants which have strong wings and never lose them.

Black termites size is not very different from the other types, they look quite similar and it is hard to detect whether a termite is dark brown or black. So the main goal for you is to understand that you have termites not ants. Also, it is quite hard to tell the exact size of an insect, so look at geographical position and other characteristics.

Red color termites: are they as dangerous as they look?

If you open red termites pictures, you will never want them to be at your house. But in reality, they are better than the first type we have described. The common type of red color is called drywood swarmers. 



  • There is no worker caste in such colony.
  • The geographical points where one can find them are Virginia, Florida, and California. Sometimes they live near the subterranean type.
  • You will probably find termites red ink in furniture as they like dry wood. They do not need water at all.
  • Red mulch termites are less dangerous because they are less widespread.

So, now you are almost an expert in termites. You should know the enemy by sight, that is why we have described all the kinds in details. When you are aware of probable damages, it is easier to prepare for termites’ invasion and find the most suitable treatment.