flying ants vs termites

The majority of people aren’t too fond of insects at the best of times. So when they start to fly it is enough to ramp up the anxiety dial to 10!

Flies, mosquitos, wasps are all insects that we are accustomed to not paying much regard to our personal space, yet occasionally we encounter one that doesn’t fit the bill of what we would expect. The most common among the insects that only fly occasionally are ants and Termites, both of which can spell trouble for your home.

In this post, we will compare flying ants vs. Termites to see what their differences are and most importantly what they mean for you and your property.

Flying Ants vs. Termites: What’s the Difference?

It is easy to confuse Termites for ants, however, as having one or the other in your home can mean very different things, it certainly pays to find out about their differences.

The first thing to hone in on when looking at Termites vs ants is their body shape. Termites, often known as white ants, tend to have a broader shape that doesn’t come have defined sections. ants on the other hand have narrow waists with three clear sections, the head, thorax and abdomen.

Next, when spotting the differences between the two, another giveaway is in their antennae. The antennae of a Termite are straight yet ants have an elbow or bend in theirs.

Perhaps the most important thing to note for any homeowner however is their habits in your home. So how do you know if you have Termites or ants?

Well, it is important to remember that Termites actually eat wood, whereas the kind that they are most likely to be confused for, carpenter ants, only burrow through it to make their home. This means that while the presence of carpenter ants in the home can be an aesthetic nightmare, it doesn’t usually mean that you need to worry about any potential structural damage.

With carpenter ants, look out for piles of wood shavings or dust next to wooden areas and rustling sounds inside your walls or woodwork.

Termites however are more of an issue and one to be sure to take swift action on. As they are more elusive, however, it is quite likely that you will notice the damage that they have caused before you ever lock eyes with one. Signs of their presence look similar to water damage, with warped and swollen looking wood and evidence of tunnelling and mazing in your furniture, walls or ceiling.

Why Do They Fly in the First Place?

The first thing to note about our tiny friends is that flying ants and Termites are not a particular species. The official name of both flying ants and Termites is “alates” and they are born with one purpose to their existence.

To mate.

The most common type of ant that you will see is actually sterile female ants. In the colony, there can also be one or more queens whose role is to reproduce after initially constructing the home of the colony.

The males however have wings and their purpose is to mate with the future young queens that are also born with wings. This is actually done mid-flight, so when you see swarms of flying ants you are quite likely interrupting what could be a very crucial moment in their existence!

Termites have a similar setup, yet their queen is more or less a prisoner to the nest as she expands within the confines of their home. Their colony consists of workers, soldiers, reproductives who are our flying friends.

Conditions for the flying ants’ eventual encounter need to be perfect. Sunlight, humidity, temperature and wind all play a part in their tryst meaning that the times that you will see flying ants are between mid-summer and early autumn. For Termites, this usually happens in springtime.

The romance for flying ants however stops rather abruptly after the deed is done. After mating and fulfilling their purpose the male ants die and the young queens then land and try to find the right location to set up their own colony, eating their wings as nourishment as they have no longer have any use for them.

Termite however has a more romantic end, with the couple shedding their wings and working together to build their new colony.

What Do Flying Ants and Flying Termites Mean for My Home?

What does all of this mean for you?

If you do cross a flying ant or even a swarm of them outside there is no need to be threatened or concerned. Having one in your home usually means that it got lost on the way to the party.

Spotting ants in your home is generally easier, as they will come out for food. Carpenter ants as mentioned earlier can cause damage so try your best to cut off all food supply such as leaving out sweet foods and cleaning worktops. If the problem persists, call in a professional.

Coming across flying Termites, however, is more serious news. This is because Termites are not talented flyers, meaning that they aren’t capable of going too far away from their mounds. Therefore if you do come across flying Termites it is quite likely that you are not too far away from their home, which would merit a Termite inspection.

Termites cause over $5 billion in damages to property every year, so it is important to take swift action if you suspect their presence.

Make Flying Ants and Flying Termites Yesterdays Problem

Regardless of whether you are enthralled learning of the intricacies of flying ants vs. Termites or would rather not know anything about them, coming across any of these critters at home should lead you to think about taking action.

If you are unsure about the best action to take or know that you have an infestation and live in Cayce, SC then contacts us today. We are happy to share our years of Pest Control experience and even offer a free estimate. Remember that your pests are our problem!