Are those termites or flying ants in your yard? Which one could that wing you found on the windowsill belong to? Did you even know ants could fly? It’s common for homeowners to confuse flying ants for termites or vice versa. Confirming which one it is that may be invading your property is important since termites are known to cause damages that could end up seriously costing you in repairs. Flying ants are generally just more of an annoyance. There are a few different ways of telling them apart and treatment methods for getting rid of both, but if you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call for a professional termite inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this.
Distinguishing Body Characteristics
Once ants and termites hit their swarming stage and produce wings it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two black-bodied creatures with just a quick glance. However, studying the characteristics of three specific body parts should help you in determining the difference. If you’re able to get close enough, look to see if the antennae is straight or bent. The first will signify a termite and the latter an ant. Their wings also vary pretty distinctly. A termite’s wings will take on a long and narrow shape, be of equal lengths and lay parallel to the body. The wings on an ant are unequal in length, are positioned at an angle and the front set of wings are noticeably larger than the back ones. Lastly, you can identify a termite or ant by body shape. The waist of a termite is straight in accordance with the rest of its body, which is separated into two segments, while an ant’s body has three segments and a waist that is pinched in.
Swarming is typical of termites that are ready to reproduce and find a new place to start a colony. However, flying ants will often nest then swarm as well and find their way inside a house, creating instant panic for a homeowner. Swarmers are looking for a place to quickly burrow into soil and take up residence as they can’t typically live for long periods of time in dry climates. Catching sight of a large amount of flying bugs should be a caution sign that you have some type of insect colony living nearby.
Although, they are usually hard to discover by actually seeing them, termites do leave other signs around that they’ve invaded a home. Mud tubes, droppings, discarded wings, sagging or curling floors and hollowed or buckling wood are all good indicators of a possible termite infestation. Uncovering any of these signs, along with viewing a swarm, means a termite inspection is in order right away.
While you shouldn’t automatically freak out when you see a swarm of termite look-alike winged insects because they could just be flying ants, keep in mind that scheduling an annual termite inspection is the only way for a homeowner to ever really be sure that they are free of any termite activity. It would be unfortunate to wait until there’s so much damage already done that it becomes visible to the naked eye and past the point of helpful treatment.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson is a full-time blogger who finds great joy in writing on topics such as pest control. She has personally dealt with rat and fly infestations and hopes that she never has to experience flying ants or termites!