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

flying ant

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 four simple ways:

  1. Color: 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.
  2. Body: 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.
  3. Wings: 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.
  4. Antenna: 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 Athens home 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 in Athens 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 to request your free quote or inspection and to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in Athens!

Our certified pest experts will work with you to find the best solution for your needs. Simply fill out this form for a free, no-obligation estimate.

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(706) 702-4532
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