How Big is a Termite?


The undersized insect that can create extensive damage

How big are termites and how large are their colonies? Both of these questions depend on the species of termites you are talking about. The most common structure-infesting termites in the United States are subterranean termites. In large numbers, these small termites can do a lot of damage.

How big are termites?

Eastern subterranean termites, the most widely distributed in the country, are about three-eighths of an inch or 10 millimeters long. They can be found everywhere in the United States except for Alaska. Western subterranean termites, which are not as widely distributed, are about the same size, while dark southeastern subterranean termites are only about 7 to 8 millimeters in length.

How big is a termite colony?

Accurately determining the size of a termite colony can be a challenge according to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis. However, estimates suggest the population of termite colonies can be anywhere from 10,000 to over 1 million.

What is an extensive amount of damage?

While small in size, termites can cause significant damage. One colony can forage an estimated 78 linear yards. Some termites forage for even greater distances. On average, a colony of Formosan termites, which is less common than a subterranean colony but more obstructive, can forage for the length of an entire American football field. Combined, termites are estimated to cause over $5 billion of damage in the United States each year.

Concerned about a termite infestation in your home? Call Terminix® – your best protection against termites and other pests.