Telling the difference between termite species can be very difficult.  Most termite workers look almost the same, making them almost useless for identification.  Termite queens and kings are almost impossible to find, so they are pretty much out for termite identification purposes.

To really tell the difference between termite species you need to look at the soldier caste of a termite colony. Termite soldiers have very distinct differences between each of the termite species.  Termite soldiers are also very easy to find.  All you have to do is stir up the colony a little bit.  At the sign of disturbance termite soldiers are sure to appear to defend the colony.

Identifying Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termite soldiers are easy to identify.  They have a longer, rectangular shaped head that allows them to block tunnels.  This head areas is slightly darker then their body, giving it a slight golden tint.

Subterranean Termite Soldier

Identifying Formosan Termites

Formosan termites, another type of subterranean termite, are also easy to identify.  Formosan termite soldiers have a triangle shaped head with a tiny dot in the center a little bit above the pincers.  This dot is a gland that releases a sticky substance that they use when fighting.  The Formosan termite soldiers head is also darker in color.  It is almost a copper color.

Formosan Soldier Termite