Termite insect information & pictures
The Termites, often called White-ants, are not ants at all but might almost be called Social Roaches. Furthermore, the winged forms are dark, not white. Their principal home is in the Tropics.
In the Northeastern U.S. only, but common, native species is Reticulitermes (formerly Termes) flavipes. It nests in and under old logs and stumps, more rarely in decaying wood of houses when the wood touches earth. It was here before 1492.
Like other Rhinotermitidae and some Termitidae, it lives in the ground and will not go far above ground to reach wood.
Hodotermitidae (Termopsinae of some authors) live in moist wood and Calotermitidae (also spelled with a K) live in dry wood without access to earth. It is the latter, native in the U.S. South and West, that are difficult to combat where established. If you think that you have them in your house, ask a professional Termite Pest Control firm for advice to get rid of them.
Termite colonies differ greatly from ant colonies. Workers and soldiers are modified males as well as females and, since there is no pupal stage, the young resemble adults. Only the typical, sexual males and females ("first reproductive caste") have wings and even they lose them. After the marriage flight the male ("king") lives on with the "queen."
Furthermore, some individuals ("second and third reproductive castes") may lay eggs even though they never get fully developed wings. It is all too complicated to be discussed here.
An interesting physiological point is that the wood which they eat is apparently digested for them, in some cases at least, by single-celled animals, Protozoa, which live in their intestines.
Read more on termites at: Termite Identification