Flying Ants or Termites?

There’s nothing worse than discovering a pest infestation in your home unless you don’t know what kind of creatures you may have. While it’s easy to tell if you have rodents, snakes, or spiders, others can be a bit more difficult.

In the case of flying ants and termites, knowing the difference could mean the difference between severe damage to your home and flying annoyance. These two insects can often be mistaken for one another, and if you have noticed any winged, segmented invaders in your home, not knowing what you have can be stressful.

Here are a few tips to identify your pest problem so you can treat it properly.

Flying Ants or Termites? Which Do I have?- flying ant

The Look

At first glance, you might not spot the differences between flying ants and termites, but there are some visible traits that can help you tell them apart. If you are able to spot your invaders, carefully examine their bodies and wings.

  • Termites – Termites only have wings during mating season. After they mate, they lose their wings. These pests have straight antennae, and they are typically black or dark brown. Their clear wings are equal length and twice the size of their body. Termites do not have a pinched waist.
  • Flying ants – Flying ants are identified by their bent antennae. Unlike termites, they have unequal wings. Their waists are segmented, and they can be black, brown, or reddish-brown.

Once you’ve identified your invaders, you can take steps toward getting rid of the problem. However, it can be difficult to spot these little pests. If you can’t seem to get a good look at your creepy crawlies, search your home to see where they live.

How They Live

Another way to tell these insects apart is simply where you find them. While both are colony creatures with a caste system, where they are found can determine the type of pest you are dealing with.

  • Termites – This pest prefers living in dying or decaying trees, stumps, or wooden debris. They can be found in lumber or areas with a lot of wood in general. They typically build their homes and eat through it, which could be devastating should you discover them in your home. Termites have a diet of cellulose, which is nutrient-rich and found in plants, wood, paper, and other similar items.
  • Flying ants – While it is possible to find ants in wood, they can build their homes anywhere. Carpenter ants can be found in wood, but they do not eat it. While they can be an annoyance, ants will not cause the amount of property damage termites can. Also, unlike termites, ants are omnivores. They eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and other foods.

If you can find where your invaders have pulled up residence, you are one step closer to getting rid of them. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to find where these insects may be hiding. To get a better idea, it’s a good idea to become familiar with their lifestyle.

Difference in Lifecycle

Ants and termites have similar lifecycles. They both lose their wings after mating, and in fact, that’s one of the main signs of a termite infestation in your home. During the warm months, ants and termites fly from their nests to mate and make new colonies.

  • Termites – When it comes to mating, both the male and female termites live. These insects continue to expand and make new colonies. Each termite goes through three different life stages, eventually leading to their cast position. Worker termites can live for many years, while queens tend to live for decades. Termites swarm early in the springtime and lose their wings after they mate.
  • Flying Ants – Unlike termites, both participating insects do not survive. The male dies after mating. Also, ants go through four stages of development. Their lifespan is significantly different as well. Ant workers live for months, not years, and the queen can live for several years.

Sometimes, the only way to spot a termite problem is during mating season. Unfortunately, their long lifespan assures that they can live comfortably in your home for quite some time. Pair that with an evasive nature, and expansive colonies and the damage could be devastating. Once you’ve got an idea of what you may have, you can take steps to treat it.

Flying Ants or Termites? Which Do I have? termites lose their wings after they mate

Treating your Pest Problem

Much like how they look and live, treating termites is very different than getting rid of ants. Of the two, ants are easier to deal with, depending on where they are living. Common ways to remove your ant pest problem is by using insecticide, baits, or traps. You can also spray them with soapy water.

Additionally, if you want them to stay away, repair the rotted wood or other areas they’ve settled in. If they no longer have a cozy spot, they won’t want to stick around.

Termites, on the other hand, are much more difficult to spot. Unlike ants, there’s no easy solution for removing termites, since there is always a possibility that they could return.

Consider hiring a pest control expert to inspect your home and come up with an effective game plan to help take your home back. Whether you have flying ants or termites, don’t let pests encroach on your space. Take the steps and get rid of your infestation today.