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Termites cause billions of dollars of damage every year in North America. These pesky creatures eat their way through wood, paper, books and insulation, causing some serious structural problems for your house and some emotional breakdowns for you.

With over 1,800 different species, termites are thought to have evolved from cockroaches, making them one of the oldest living insects in existence today. That means they're not going anywhere soon. Unless, of course, you take back your house with the help of some serious pest control.

Termite Identification
Effective pest control begins with realizing you have a problem with termites. Termites are often confused for ants, so how do you tell the difference? What do termites look like? Brace yourself.

A termite looks like an ant, with straight antennae, a uniform waist and wings that are equal in size. Study the termite pictures to acquaint yourself with your little house guests.

Subterranean Termites
The term termites usually refers to subterranean termites. They have extensive colonies. Termites are often also called 'white ants', as many are white or clear in color. The white-looking termites have beady antennae. If you find earthen mud tubes in your home, breaking them open will reveal these white termites. These mud tubes are sure signs of termites, but the colony may only be active if they're filled with live termites.

'Swarmer' termites have wings and are black or brown in color. They come out around the house between March and May. It is during this time that home owners usually recognize they have a termite infestation. 'Swarmers' are attracted to light and therefore are usually found near windows or doorways.

Drywood Termites
As the name implies, drywood termites look to build their colonies in dry wood. Coastal areas are often subject to drywood termite attacks. Drywood termites are also the most destructive species. You'll know you have drywood termites by the little piles of dust they leave around. You may also notice tunnel-like paths on wooden structures.

It's important to identify the critters correctly, as drywood termite treatment differs from subterranean termite treatments.

So you've seen and correctly identified the gross, gnawing creatures? Time to kill some termites with termite control!

Hammer Think you might have termites? Visit our forum to get advice from other home owners