Termite Swarmers vs Flying Ants: Which Ones Do I Have?



Many people, even those with some knowledge about insects, often confuse flying ants and termite swarmers. But, why should you know the difference between these two? Well, correct identification can save you time, money, stress, and your property.

Swarmers and winged ants have a similar appearance, which is why many people confuse them. However, there are major differences that you can spot.

For instance, while both have four wings equal in size and length, the wings of flying ants are larger in the front than in the back. Keep reading to learn more about how to distinguish these insect species.



What Are Winged Ants And Flying Termites?

Many ant species are wingless. However, it’s not uncommon to see swarms of flying ants during certain seasons. Experts refer to these winged ants as alates, swarmers, or reproductive.

They have elbowed antennae and a thin waist constricted at their throat. In addition, their rear wings are smaller than their front large wings. This difference will help you distinguish them from other insects.

Flying termites are also the alates or reproductive members in a termite colony. They seek mates, lay eggs, and start new colonies. Their wings are approximately two times the length of their body when unfolded in flight. Plus, they come in orange color that appears burnt with a smoky dark membrane. Alates are the only termites with compound eyes.



Main Differences And Similarities Between Termite Swarmers
And Flying Ants

No doubt it’s hard to tell the difference between these two insect types as they appear so similar. Both of them are small household pests that can frustrate the homeowner or tenant. Both have four wings and usually nest in indoor spaces. This is why you often spot them in your home or garage. After nesting, they swarm off to create new colonies.

In regards to the main differences between them, you can distinguish these pests from each other using three simple ways:



The most common similarity is the color. Drywood swarmers are solid red and subterranean termite swarmers are solid black. At the same time, fire ants are dull red, and carpenter ants are typically black and red or dark brown.



A flying ant has three distinct body parts, that is, the head, thorax, and abdomen. Its waist is thin, pinched, and divides into three body parts.

Termites, on the other hand, have a straight body that you can only tell apart the head from the body. Winged ones have a straight waist, meaning that there isn’t a clear distinction between their thorax and abdomen.



The wings of a winged termite are equal in length. But with a flying ant, the front wings are usually larger than the back wings.

Also, the size of the wings is an important distinction. Ants have short wings that are proportionate to their body. But termites have disproportionate long wings that are larger than the insect itself.



Flying termites have relatively straight antennae, while a winged ant has a bent or elbow-shaped antenna.



Signs Of Flying Ants And Termite Swarmers

If you discover an ant in your yard, there is no major reason for concern. Ant infestation is not considered harmful in most cases. Signs of flying ants include shed wings and frass accumulation in certain areas like in crawl spaces or inside wall voids.

Flying termites don’t always mean an infestation. But, the more you notice, the more you’re likely to have one. If there are any alates in your home, you probably have a termite infestation. Note that colonies take a lot of time to develop, even years. Therefore, if you are dealing with a colony, it’s probably well established.

Termites often lose their wings when mating or as they age out of their reproductive ability. If you notice wings on window sills, around door frames or wooden surfaces, you’re dealing with an infestation.

Also, check whether there are mud tubes around your home and rotting wood. If these are present, you may have termite swarmers inside your property.

Other signs of termite infestation include exclusively squeaky boards, peeling paint, and hollow surrounding wood.



Can Termite Swarmers Be Mistaken For Flying Ants?

Yes, many individuals mistake these two insect species, as mentioned before. Ants species that are commonly mistaken for termite swarmers are fire ants and carpenter ants.

Note that these species also have some similarities. Both of them have winged reproductives that swarm in the spring.

However, it’s crucial to distinguish between them because if they are not properly identified you could be treating the wrong infestation. Not only can this waste your money, time, and effort, but it can also cause further damage to your property.

Termite swarmers fly off to new locations and start colonies. After mating and establishing new colonies, they won’t need their wings anymore. Thus, they shade them.

On the other hand, flying ants have a thin waist, while termites have a broad waist that’s uniform with their body. Flying ants also have a bent antenna, while termites have a straight one. If you’re not sure of what you are dealing with, you can call our professional pest control experts at American Pest Control to help you.



Are Flying Ants Or Termite Swarmers Worse?

Every pest control specialist will admit that termite swarmers are more harmful than flying ants. Typically, winged ants don’t present any serious problems. The only issue with them is that they can be a nuisance.

However, termites are destructive to houses and other structures and can cause severe damage. They attack wooden structures and often target exposed wood. As a result, they can damage the structure massively, forcing a homeowner to spend thousands of dollars on house repairs.



If you believe that there is a termite or ant infestation in your home, the best option is to consult a pest control professional to take a look at your house. Trying to treat the pest infestation on your own might make the problem even worse.

American Pest Control in Athens has been servicing the northeast Georgia areas for more than 50 years. Our experts know best how to properly exterminate termites or ants. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and request your free quote or inspection!



Why Do Termite Swarmers Die In Your House?



If you have ever entered your house and found a couple of wings on your window sill, then chances are that termite swarmers have recently been flying around your home. While these swarmers might not cause any direct damage to your home, it is a clear indication that you might be having a more serious termite issue that needs to be addressed in the near future.

Getting all the necessary information will ensure that you can make the right call when you see these swarmers appear in your house. Keep reading as we’ve covered here everything you need to know about termite swarmers.



What Do Termite Swarmers Do?

Also known as alates, swarmers are adult reproductive termites with wings. They can fly out of the nests seasonally to find mates and start new colonies by reproducing. Because their existing colony gets too big, the adults have to fly away and look for a new place to establish a colony.

While they don’t sting, bite, eat wood or cause any damage to your house, it can get scary, especially if you have never seen swarmers before or you have young children around.

These insects come in a huge swarm and fly all around the place, looking for where the light is. During the day, chances are they will head towards the window and try to get out of the house.

Swarmers come out through tunnels dug up by the worker termites when the colony was created. They can either come out through the house or from outside. Since they do not bite or destroy much, you need not worry about a termite attack. They are simply vacating the colony, but that is also an indicator that there might be a termite issue where you are.



Do Termites Die After They Swarm?

Adult termites have a very short life span. When they leave their colony, they need to get good soil to settle on, food, and moisture. If they do not get any of these, or if they are not able to escape from the house, they will die within 30 to 40 minutes. That is why it is so easy for you to find swarmers in one place a few minutes after they got out of their colony.

They get drawn to a light source like a window or glass door, and when unable to fly out, they’ll die in open areas. Thus, most of the time, just dead insects or their shed wings, can be found.

As previously mentioned, these flying termites do not cause you any immediate damage, but they will be an indication of a bigger termite colony nearby.



How Long Do Termite Swarms Last?

Swarmers can come out of their colonies for a couple of hours and keep doing this daily, especially if the colony is full. However, the majority of the colony usually dies within a day or two of the swarm.

These insects will fly a short distance. After that, they fall to the ground and shed their wings. The good thing is, if they do not get soil, food, and water, they will die off in about 40 minutes.

While you might get an exterminator in, some of these swarmers might still escape through the intricate colony tunnels they have built. It might take a couple of days to get rid of them completely.



When Do Termites Swarm?

Often termites will swarm during the day because they are looking for light. If they have made a home in your house, then chances are they might swarm at night and head in the direction of the light source indoors. Swarmers in the house show that you might have a termite infestation somewhere on your property.



How To Deal With Swarmers?

While swarmers might not cause any immediate damage to your house, they can leave behind a huge mess that you’ll have to clean up. The best way to deal with these pests is to contain them at first.

Here are some things you can do when you realize there are swarmers in the house:

– Contain them. If you notice they are in one room, close the doors and windows to that room, it will ensure they do not swarm in the entire house, which can be messy and frightening.

– Try and keep them in one place. If you notice where they are coming from, you can put a plastic bag over that exit hole. That way, all the insects will get in, and it is easier for you to dispose of them than cleaning the entire room.

– Vacuum the room. If it so happens that they got out before you got the bag, you can always vacuum the critters and their wings as well. It is best to do this after you are sure there are no more swarmers around. That way, you do not keep vacuuming all day or night.

– Get an inspector to come and look around. Swarmers indicate a termite colony that has grown so big and could dig its way through your home. Ensure you get a pest control professional to come and look at your house if you have had swarmers in the home. They will help get rid of them and ensure no more damage is done to your property by these pests.


For a free inspection and termite treatment services, seek the help of our experts at American Pest Control in Athens, GA. The technicians are highly qualified and experienced in treating a termite infestation, no matter how bad it is.

So if you have swarmers in your house, don’t worry. Since they will do no harm by being around, simply let them fly out before you clean the place up. Save up a couple of their wings as well as the insects so that you can show your inspector. He will be able to develop a way to contain the swarmers in the house.