Wood-destroying Insects: Termites vs. Woodlice – What You Need to Know

Woodlice, also known as pillbugs or roly-polies, are often mistaken for termites due to their appearance and the fact that they are both commonly found in and around homes. However, there are some key differences in their behavior and the signs of their presence.

Appearance: While termites have a straight, narrow body and straight antennae, woodlice have a more rounded body and two pairs of antennae that are shorter and thicker. Woodlice are also typically smaller than termites, with an average length of around 1 cm.

Behavior: Termites feed on wood and are capable of causing extensive structural damage to homes, while woodlice feed on decaying plant matter and do not cause any significant damage. Woodlice are often found in damp areas like basements, crawl spaces, and gardens, while termites are more likely to be found in the soil and create mud tubes to travel to their food source.

Signs of Presence: The signs of a termite infestation include mud tubes, discarded wings, and hollowed-out wood. In contrast, the signs of a woodlice infestation are typically limited to the presence of the insects themselves. Woodlice are often found in large numbers in damp areas and may be seen crawling on the walls or floors.

Prevention and Control: Preventing and controlling woodlice is typically a matter of addressing any moisture issues in your home. Fix any leaks, ensure proper ventilation, and remove any standing water. You can also try using a dehumidifier or applying insecticides to affected areas.

While woodlice are often mistaken for termites due to their similar appearance, behavior, and habitat, there are some key differences in the signs of their presence. By understanding these differences and taking the necessary steps to prevent and control infestations, you can help keep your home free from both termites and woodlice.

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