What Do Termites Look Like in Ohio?

Most homes in Ohio are prone to termite infestation because of the humid climate, especially during summer. It is classified by US Forest Service Scientists as moderate to heavy in the Termite Infestation Probability Zones.

Ohio is home to subterranean termites. These species are about 1/8 inch long and vary in color from creamy white to dark brown to black.

The termite’s appearance may be different depending on their roles in the colony. Workers have no eyes but have saw-toothed jaws to bite off and chew wood all throughout the day.

While the soldiers have rectangular heads and have prominent mouthparts to fight off threats, and the reproductives have wings and are the only ones who can start a new colony.

termite standing on a piece of rock

There are actually more than 2,000 different species of termites in the world, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

It is already difficult identifying a termite from an ant and it is even more when you compare termite species.

But termites in Ohio, have very distinct features from their color, size, head shape, and presence of wings and their number and shape that separates them apart from other species.

Common Termites Found in Ohio

Many people think all termites are the same, but there are actually several different species that thrive in different parts of the world. Surprisingly, there are actually only two different types of termites in Ohio.

termite offsprings gathering around eggs

The most common types of termites in this state are subterranean termites. Although drywood termites are not native to Ohio, it is still possible for this species to travel in wooden objects such as furniture and end up in your home.

Formosan termites, regardless of how much they are thriving in other states, have not yet been identified in Ohio.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites measure about 3/8″ to ½-inch long or about the size of your fingertip. It typically has a dark brown body and brownish-gray wings.

Their colonies thrive underground or above ground in moist locations. They build mud tubes to access food sources.

Because they need moisture to survive, they are commonly found in trees, stumps, firewood, and scrap lumber.

The dark southeastern subterranean termite and the eastern subterranean termites are the subterranean termites you can find in the state of Ohio.

And though most termites would look similar, Ohio’s subterranean termites have three castes with physical differences that characterize them if they are reproductive, workers, or soldiers.

Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termites

The dark southeastern subterranean termite is about up to 1/3 inches long and has a dark brown or black body. Its size and its color are the reasons why it is frequently mistaken for a regular ant.

A rectangular-shaped head with a huge mouth and big mandibles make dark southeastern subterranean soldiers distinguished from other members of the caste.

Dark southeastern subterranean workers resemble cream-colored ants and are slightly smaller than the soldiers.

Finally, the winged ones are distinct because they are the only ones in the colony with wings and are capable of reproduction.

Eastern Subterranean Termites

This type of termite’s appearance differs depending on the caste they belong to. They differ in body size, the presence of wings, and even the head.

Eastern subterranean worker termites are tiny pests that are white to a creamy translucent color, about 1/8 to 1/4 inches long, and have soft bodies. They have no wings, are blind, and do not have the capacity to reproduce.

On the other hand, an eastern subterranean soldier is orange in color with mandibulate pinchers. It is about 1/4 inches long and has a rectangular head with large jaws used to fight off threats.

Lastly, the eastern subterranean reproductives, also known as alates, are about 3/8 of an inch long and have dark brown bodies. Unlike the others in the caste, reproductives have wings that are lost after a swarm.

Drywood Termites

Though these termites are usually found in southwestern states of the United States and are not commonly seen in Ohio, it is still possible for them to travel in some objects made of wood, mainly furniture, crates, and other wood products.

Drywood termites are slightly different in appearance from other types of termites.

They measure up to almost half an inch and have a more flattened body, which makes them appear more elongated than other types of termites. They usually measure 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch.

Drywood termite soldiers have large mandibles with teeth and have pronotum protruding from their heads. They are cream-colored that can look white against the wood.

Reproductive drywood termites have two sets of wings that are of the same length, which after swarming, are shed faster.

These termites also have a straight, thick, oval-shaped waistline. They do not have the same type of segmentation that is seen in other termites. They have six legs and would be brown or black in color.

Termites in Ohio vs. Termites in Other Places – Is There a Difference

The most common termites found in Ohio are subterranean termites. They may be similar to other termites because of their love of wood, but they have distinct features that set them apart from termites in other places.

While soldiers of all termite species are generally bigger and have large heads and mandibles, soldiers of subterranean termites and drywood termites have rectangular-shaped heads compared to the oblong heads of Formosan termite soldiers.

termite soldier crawling on wooden surface

Subterranean termite soldiers have four distinct wings, and drywood termites shed their wings immediately after swarming.

You would immediately identify them because, unlike termites in other places, you would not find a dead swarmer with wings.

You can find termites in other states that may be a different color. The environment, type of wood, and diet also play a role in the appearance of some termites.

Final Thoughts

The termites found in Ohio are diverse in both their appearance and behavior. While most species are brown or tan, some exhibit reddish or even black coloring.

They also vary considerably in size, with some workers measuring less than an inch in length while others may be over twice that size.

Despite these differences, all termites share the same liking for wood. These characteristics are significant in identifying which species of termites infest your home.

This is important because it helps you determine which type of treatment would work best for you and your home.