People often refer to Termites as White Ants but the actually aren’t ants at all they belong to a different insect family. There are over 350 species of termites in Australia of which some 20 species can damage timber in houses.


  • Straight, beaded antenna
  • They have wide bodies from head to tail and they have short legs.
  • Only two body segments with no waist like ants do
  • Termites also have no eyes.
  • They cause billions of dollars worth of damage to buildings every year
  • Termites are soft bodied insects. Their wide bodies don’t have a hard exoskeleton like an ant does.
  • Depending on the species of termite, their bodies may even appear semi-translucent, this is where the name white ants came from.
  • Most termites soldiers and workers are white or light coloured with the soldiers heads being a darker amber colour.
  •  Termite queens and kings tend to vary a lot more in body size and colouring from species to species, the queens are almost grub like in size and look

Characteristics of a Termite:

  • Wide Body (Thorax and Abdomen)
  • Short Legs
  • Generally Light Colored
  • 2 Body Sections they have no waist (like ants)


Unlike termites, ants are leaner and more agile. They have narrow bodies that are constricted at the thorax and abdomen. They also have longer legs and antenna.

They have three body segments .

Ants will venture out into the open where termites require the protection of nests ,in ground ,above ground and underground and the protection to travel in mud tubes(leads).

You will find them crawling around out in the open searching for food. Almost all termite species prefer to stay out of the open and are rarely seen.

Distinguishing features of Ants:

  • Narrow Body
  • Longer Legs
  • Longer Elbowed Antenna
  • Generally Darker Coloured