Is this a termite? And why are they coming from my drains?

Burlingame, CA

So first some background info:
I live just outside San Francisco in a really old apartment. A few months ago (Jan-Feb), I found a couple of termites in my bathroom sink. At the time, I thought they were just strange, long winged gnats so I just killed them and went on with my day. Fast forward to that night, it started to pour rain. I went into my bathroom and found just a pile of dead termites on my bathroom floor (at least 20-30 of them) at the base of my sink.
I wish I got pictures back then, but at the time I didn't realize they were termites until I googled "long winged gnat" and found the disturbing truth of what they were... (It was a disgusting combo of winged ones and soldiers)
The nightmare didn't end that day though. The next morning, I went to wash up, and much to my horror, the bodies of dozens of dead termites gurgled up from my sink drain.

Now unfortunately, my landlord won't do anything about this until I have photo proof that there are termites in this place. But I haven't seen them since that night, until possibly today?

I went to take a shower just now and found this guy hanging out by the drain of my bathtub. Is this guy a soldier termite? I think he is, but I'm not positive. I also only found 1 (so far...).

That leads to my second question though- What are they doing in my drains?! Aren't they suppose to be eating my walls?? What are they doing in my metal pipes?! I'm so grossed out right now, I hope this is a termite just so I can get my landlord to finally do something.

Thumbnail by 60Six
Minot, ND

Unfortunately, your image is not clear enough to permit a positive identification. Do you have access to a camera with better macro capabilities?

Burlingame, CA

Quote from Flapdoodle :
Unfortunately, your image is not clear enough to permit a positive identification. Do you have access to a camera with better macro capabilities?


Sadly no. I already got rid of it too... I guess I continue to wait for more to pop up before I can prove to my landlord this place is infested.

Still though, I am 100% positive that the ones a few months ago were termites. They were identical to the bugs in this photo.
Do you have any idea why they would be coming from my drains?

Edit: Literally right after typing this I found another in my bathtub. Failed to get a photo though because I freaked out when it crawled on me and flung it who knows where... Positive it was the same bug though (I thought it was drowned so I was looking at it and it sprung back to life ahaha...)

This message was edited Apr 22, 2019 12:09 AM

Thumbnail by 60Six
Minot, ND

Here is a possible explanation; drains definitely are not typical termite habitat!
"After indoor flights, most alates are found dead near windows or in sinks and bath tubs—usually with their wings still attached."
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/IN/IN36900.pdf

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Agree, they do not live in drains, but in soil or wood. Maybe they end up near the drain looking for moisture- they need a certain amount of moisture in the wood they eat ( traditional termites anyway). When they swarm, they come out of the soil or wood to fly and choose a new home. So they can come out indoors at times.
You'll just have to wait for more photo ops to prove it, unless you expose the termites or damaged wood. You can try poking around any wood under the sink or bathroom area, see if it's actually riddled with tunnels. They leave the surface intact. It's the landlord's building they are eating, not your stuff, although I did find they once came from my exterior wall into a paperback book on a shelf on the inside of that wall. Just a small tunnel but that was shockingly creepy.

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