The Difference Between Flying Ants vs. Flying Termites

Ants vs. Termites

 

 

Many homeowners and even untrained pest control technicians confuse flying ants and flying termites. Proper Identification can save you time, money, stress and even your home! So how exactly do you tell the difference between a flying ant and a flying termite? Let’s start with the physical difference between flying ants and flying termites:

  • An ant will have a pinched waist that is easily recognized. Termites, on the other hand, have a much thicker waist.
  • The flying ants antennae are bent in the center while a flying termite’s antennae look straighter to the human eye.
  • Both the ant and the termite have two sets of wings, four in total. The ant has two sets, the front set tend to be larger than the back, but the back set is shorter in length. The termite also has two sets of wings, but both are the same size and appear much longer than the ants.

At certain times of the year, typically spring time during warm weather after a rain shower, termite colonies produce what are known as “swarmers,” the winged adults (pictured) that fly away to start a new termite colony. Seeing flying termites is a sign that there is a mature established termite colony nearby.

Some of the questions we get from Hilton Head homeowners about flying termites are answered below:

  • Where do the flying termite swarmers come from?

If most of the swarming termites you see are outside, then the termite nest is likely somewhere in your yard, possibly near an old tree stump or landscape timbers. If you find most of the termite swarmers inside your home, then you likely have a termite infestation.

  • What is the purpose of “swarming” season?

This is where most of the “swarmers”, who happen to be female, try and pair up to nest and create other colonies. While most die off, some do create entirely new colonies in the warm, moist spring weather, which is ideal for nesting. Swarming does not last long, and you may only see the leftover wings from a swarm (pictured).

Termite Swarm

Termite Swarmers

  • What happens to these flying termites?

While most of these termites die off without breeding, some successfully pair up and create their own nest. Once the male and female termites have successfully mated, they shed their wings and start the process of creating a colony.

  • What attracts swarming termites?

Most flying termites are attracted to light and swarm during the day, or if at night they are close to a light source like a street lamp or porch light. But more than likely the original colony that produced these swarmers is close by. Termites aren’t strong fliers and mostly rely on the wind to carry them where they need to go. If there is a termite nest nearby, chances are swarmers won’t be far behind.

  • How can I get rid of these termites?

We recommend calling a professional if you see termites swarming in your home. Flying ants can be easily rid of with chemicals and ant bait, but termites can be much trickier and far more resistant. As the only pest control company in Beaufort county who requires ALL technicians be State Licensed and Purdue University Graduates, you can rest assured no other company can offer our level of service and expertise.  

  • What kind of termite removal services do you provide?

We start off with a free termite inspection. If you are concerned that you may have termites and not flying ants, call us to make an appointment and we’ll send one of our licensed technicians out to tell you if you have an issue to be concerned about. If there is a termite infestation there are multiple ways to treat it.

If you think you might have a problem with termites or any other pest…or simply a question…call Island Pest Control at 843-681-5188 and ask for me, John Kaiser. I’ll be happy to speak with you any time.

Here’s to helping YOU live PEST FREE!

John