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How To Recognize Baby Termites And What You Can Do To Them
Many people mistook baby termites for ants because of how they look so much alike. But at a closer look, termites and ants have distinctive features to differentiate them both. Don’t worry if you make the same mistake. It’s so common and happens most of the time.
Unfortunately, this mistake is often the start of a hideous termite infestation. Mistaking a dangerous termite for an ant will give them a while to start building a colony at your house.
As soon as you’re familiar with the differences, you can notice them quicker and prevent infestation. Did you know that termite infestation caused up to US$ 5 billion in damage? To prevent this, you should look closer at termites during their baby phase.
What do Baby termites look like?
First of all, termites in the baby phase are called a nymph. This is a period when they just recently hatched, When they are fresh from the eggs and still not classified yet.
Physically, a nymph looks like a smaller worker termite. Their body is like any other insect, with two antennas and three body parts. Their colors are milky translucent, very similar to the eggs.
Termites will stay as a nymph until they finish shedding their skin and become soldier termites. During that period, they stay deep inside the nest. The Queen will continue laying eggs that hatch after one or two weeks, depending on how humid and moist the ground they use.
Both nymphs and worker termites dislike the light. The only difference is that worker termites have slightly bigger bodies and can find food for themselves. Until they become workers, nymphs get their food from the other soldier termites by licking the Queen’s body fat.
The differences between baby ants and baby termites
There are several major differences between ants and termites. The most obvious difference is the wings of adult termites. But how do you tell them apart when they are still babies?
Unlike ants, termites in the nymph period are mostly transparent. Yet, their genetic makeup depends on their colony’s Queen’s decision. All nymphs will start as a worker. In this phase, the Nymphs start to feed themselves and work with other termites.
The main difference between baby ants and baby termites is their antenna and body segments. Nymphs’ antennae are straight, whereas ants have bent antennas. But if it’s a bit too much to check, you can look at their body segments.
Both have three body segments, but ants have a smaller middle segment, so they look like they have a waist. And the nymphs have all of their body segments of equal size.
To some people, it’s easier to differentiate if they know where they find the nymphs. Since nymphs are very unlikely to leave the nest, anyone can guess that it’s either the colony that has a nest nearby. Or your house is already half-failing from the infestation.
Of course, it’s easier to tell ants and termites apart during their later life phases due to their colors and wings. Termites have wings, and their colors are more brown instead of black or red, like ants.
But when you see adult termites flying around, you can be sure they already have a colony nearby. And it would help if you were ready that they are about to be a queen and start a new colony in your house.
Should I be worried about them?
A group of nymphs is noticeably harmless because they can’t feed themselves. And since they look similar to baby ants and soldier termites, most people dismiss them. But having them around shows that you’re facing a massive infestation.
Keep in mind that termites prefer dark and damp areas to live in. Therefore, if there are any nymphs outside of the mounds and
So afterward, you see nymphs; you should start worrying about the possible infestation and how big the scale might be. You can do a quick assessment to see how big their colony is.
If you see a nymph inside the house, you need to check the area where you find it. Just like the worker termites, nymphs also hate the light. Seeing them outside their nest is a unique and rare occurrence.
But seeing a Nymph far from its Queen means the infestation may be worse than you initially thought. You should follow their trail and look for the hollow area where they build their nests.
And if you see them outdoors, you can start looking for a mud mound or a hollow tree. You can look at the nearby trees for any signs of termites. Remember that they live way deep underground, so you need to look harder for any signs of infestations.
What are the DIY methods to get rid of them?
Natural repellants such as cayenne pepper and orange essential oil can work well to exterminate nymphs. You can spray on right away to hasten the process. But it’s best to spray it to form a line or barrier to keep them in one place.
You also can use a ringworm spray to exterminate nymphs. It’s worth noting that they still rely on others, so using termite bait might be less effective here. You also can use granular insecticide and sprinkle them around the hole where you found a nymph. It depends on how fast you want the effect to take place.
Another option is to fill the hollow area with termiticide to block their paths back. This method may cause more termites, especially workers, to come closer to the light.
Calling pest control also won’t hurt since they can give you their professional opinion. They will assess your place to see where the infestation starts and what to do.
It’s not easy to notice baby termites around. Most of them are comfortably inside the nest. And being almost identical to baby ants makes it even harder. But once you can tell the difference, you can start exterminating them before they build more colonies.