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Do I have Flying Ants or Termites in my home?

Posted by: Cooper Pest - Friday, March 18, 2016

As the warmer weather approaches, you may start to find some winged friends that are looking to build new colonies within and surrounding your home. Those “friends” could be flying ants or even termites, but how can you tell the difference between the two?

Both termites and flying ants live in large colonies, so as spring approaches, they both send out “swarms” of winged reproductive males and females to fly and build new colonies. However, sometimes their “swarms” end up inside of your home.

There are four key differences between flying ants and termites. Flying Ants have a pinched waist and elbowed antennae, which often has them being mistaken for termites. They also have two sets of wings, which one set is larger than the second. Termites, however, have a straight antennae and their wing sets are of equal length. They also have more of a tubular, thick waist. Another major difference is that termites lose their wings readily, shedding them onto the ground, whereas the wings on ants typically remain attached to the insect’s body.

The table below illustrates the three significant differences among the two pests.

Flying Ants

Termites

Elbowed Antennae

Antennae Not Elbowed

Two Pairs of Wings of Unequal Length

Two Pairs of Wings of Equal Length

Thin Waist

Thick Waist

Wings Do Not Readily Fall Off

Wings fall off easily & will be seen on the ground


Flying Ant and Termite Comparison 

Termite Photo NJ         

     Flying Ant Photo

Source: Kansas State University

Winged termites tend to swarm in the early spring when it is warm and rainy. Flying ants, depending on the species, can swarm at different times throughout the year. If you happen to notice clusters of discarded wings, it’s possible you have termites.

It’s crucial to know the difference between swarms of termites and winged ants, so you can take the necessary prevention steps to protect your home. If you happen to notice any swarming, whether it is flying ants or termites, Cooper Pest Solutions is here to help. We will send one of our highly-trained pest technicians to correctly identify which pest you have and explain the treatment procedures to eradicate it from your home. If you have termites or suspect them, Cooper has several termite services, including their industry-unique program TermAware, to help eliminate termites as well as monitoring for future infestations.

Even if you don’t notice any activity, that doesn’t mean that termites or ants aren’t present. At Cooper Pest Solutions, we suggest having annual inspections to ensure that termites, or other insects, aren’t lurking around or within your home.  If you’re concerned about flying ants, termites or any other pest, call Cooper Pest Solutions today at 1-800-949-2667. 

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