Flying Ants vs Termites

Flying Ants vs Termites

There are certain species of ants that do have wings, swarm and will fly. Usually this happens during key points of the year and indicates a colony is about to build a nest somewhere around your home.

Many times people confuse flying ants and termites. However, there are distinctive differences between Flying Ants vs Termites and they are important to know.

Flying Ants

Are your flying ants swarming? When an ant colony is first starting up, all the ants it produces are sterile, female worker ants. But when a colony decides to expand, it starts producing winged, sexually mature males and females. These ants take off in a swarm called a nuptial flight and begin to mate. When female ants have been fertilized, they start a new colony. So, that’s why you see all those ants flying around. These ants aren’t as destructive as carpenter ants or termites, but they’re still annoying.

Before you act, it’s good to ensure you know the insect you are dealing with. A quick rundown of some very common flying household ants would include winged pavement ants, flying ants, carpenter ants, and termites. When they fly around you they all might appear to be the same but, when you catch them resting and not in flight you can take a closer look and ID it. Typically, the trickiest to tell the difference between are flying ants and termites.

Are flying ants dangerous?

These huge swarms can be a bit intimidating, but the ants have only one thing on their minds: mating. Ants that fly don’t represent any greater danger to you than your typical ant that crawls.

If a species of ant doesn’t bite or sting, the alates of that species won’t bite or sting either. If the ant species bites, like a carpenter ant, the winged carpenter ants can still bite if they feel threatened. If the ant species stings like fire ants do, the winged fire ants can still do the same.

It’s highly unlikely ants will bite or sting you while they’re flying, so don’t run headlong into any mating swarms and you should be fine. Do be careful if they are crawling, just as you would with any other ant.

Flying Ants in the Home

When winged ants are found within a home, it is likely that a colony has already been established or entered through an opening like an open window.

Flying Ants vs Termites

Flying ants are different than flying termites. Flying termites come out in the spring and are often the first indication that a serious, potentially damaging, termite infestation might be in the works on your property. Termites and ants require different treatment methods, so knowing the difference is key.

Here are some ways do identify the differences between Flying Ants vs Termites:

  • While both species have four wings, termite wings are uniform in size. Winged ants have noticeably larger wings in the front than the pair in the back.
  • Termites antennae are almost straight where the ant’s antennae is elbowed.
  • Termite wings are twice as long as their body. Ant wings are shorter and more proportionate to their bodies.
  • Ants appear distinctly segmented, because of their thin waist. Termites have a broad waist and are mostly a uniform width along their entire body.

Control Measures

If you’re finding winged insects around your home, it is important to do something about it. While carpenter ants are certainly much less of a threat than termites, they can still do a tremendous amount of damage if left untreated. Carpenter ants are also a warning sign that your home is being damaged by water. These insects prefer soft or rotted wood to create their tunnels and nest galleries. If you have a broken or obstructed gutter system, it can be very bad for the equity of your house.

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