Identifying Baby Termites: The Nymph Stage


Baby termites? Is that really how you want to refer to the invaders that might be eating away at your home?

What is the proper name for immature termites?

Before you begin to understand how to identify an immature termite, you will need to know the right terminology. Baby termites are referred to as nymphs, or immature termites that, unlike other social insects, can look surprisingly similar to their adult counterparts.

What do immature termites look like?

Termites have no pupal stage. It is during this period that most insects develop the body structure of an adult insect. Immature termites, instead, hatch from eggs already looking like tiny baby termites that are pale white to white in color.

Do all immature termites look the same?

Termites are social insects that follow a caste system. Immature termites, however, are still in the nymph stage, and not immediately designated for a specific role. For this reason, they look similar to each other. It is not until they are nurtured by the king and queen of a colony, or nest mates once a colony has been established, that nymphs become distinguishable as alates, workers or soldiers. Alates are identified by the development of wing buds on their thorax. A greater majority of nymph termites will develop wings and become alates, also called swarmers. These alates are responsible for reproduction.

Nymphs that do not develop wings or wing buds become workers, while others develop as soldiers that are responsible for defending the colony.

How can you identify immature termites?

From a distance, termite eggs and nymphs are hard to distinguish. Up close, or under a magnifying glass, they are a translucent white. Immature termites become larger and darker in color as they mature. They are not capable of eating wood until later in life.

The term baby termites might sound endearing, but there is nothing sweet about a termite infestation. Termite nymphs in your house will eventually mature and eat away at one of your most valuable possessions – your home. Stop them before they start – call Terminix®.