Is this a termite?
October 17, 2012 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Do we have termites? Here is a picture. We are in the bay area of California, and these appeared for the first time tonight after it got dark. They are swarming around our porch light.
posted by waitangi to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yep, that's a termite.
posted by capricorn at 7:55 PM on October 17, 2012

termite vs. ant agrees with capricorn, though the only real distinguishing characteristic in your picture is the straight antennae.
posted by carsonb at 8:03 PM on October 17, 2012

Yep termite. It's not the normal time of year for swarms, but the weather has been so odd this year who knows how that will effect he swarm cycle.
posted by 26.2 at 8:11 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you guys made of wood? No? Then you probably don't have termites.

In all seriousness though, that's a termite. You should probably break out the Raid or something.
posted by BrandonW at 8:12 PM on October 17, 2012

That is a termite but that does not mean termites are living in your house. They might be, or they might not be. Termites do fly around in general and don't infest every house they pass.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:19 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I thought segmented bodies are on ants only? That pic sure looks like a segmented body to me.
posted by RRgal at 8:24 PM on October 17, 2012

Looks like an ant.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:45 PM on October 17, 2012

Thanks everyone! Based on the ant vs termite link, I'm convinced these are termites. You can't see it in the picture, but the body definitely lacks the segmentation.
posted by waitangi at 9:49 PM on October 17, 2012

Termite and as someone who has to deal with the annual swarming of the termites you need to turn off your lights outside and inside because there can be a chance that they could take up residence in your house and start munching.
posted by govtdrone at 4:28 AM on October 18, 2012

I thought segmented bodies are on ants only? That pic sure looks like a segmented body to me.

All arthropods have segments. You're noticing the characteristic segmentation pattern shared by all insects, and particularly the expression of that pattern in Hymenoptera (which includes termites, and ants, and wasps, and bees, and others.)
posted by endless_forms at 7:14 AM on October 18, 2012

Entomologist here - definitely termite. The wings are characteristic; very oval shpaed, and hang very long beyond the body. But it really does not mean you have termites; termites form mating swarms and are attracted to lights, so they could have come from anywhere.
posted by Buckt at 9:51 AM on October 18, 2012

I have limited experience with this, but termites are really common in the Bay Area and not hard to get rid of if you catch them early.
posted by cnc at 5:18 PM on October 18, 2012

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