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How to Tell if Dealing with Termites or Flying Ants

As the weather starts to warm up, termites that have been dormant for the winter begin to swarm in search of an inviting place to begin a new colony. However, there is no need to panic simply because something is flying around the property. Winged ants look a lot like termites, but they don’t cause the same destruction as a termite can. Here is some additional information to help tell the differences between the two and help one to understand if they need traditional pest control, or someone who has experience in termite control or ant control.

Identifying Termites

Termites have straight antennae and double wings on each side of their body. The wings are rounded and of equal length. They have broader bodies than an ant and are normally dark brown or black. They are drawn to wood since it is composed of cellulose that they feed on. Therefore, a colony can cause damage to a home. They will literally eat holes in the floorboards, support beams and other structural elements of the home. Adult termites can live for a year or more, while queens can live for decades.


When a professional treats for termites, there are a variety of ways they can handle. There are non-chemical treatments that don’t involve the application of insecticides. Then, chemical treatments which the EPA must review and determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to the environment or health of humans.

Winged Ants

Ants have L-shaped antennae, their wings are also double, but they are of unequal lengths. This is a great way to tell the difference between the two. Another difference is that ant bodies are clearly demarcated into three separate segments. This is the head, thorax, and abdomen. They have a pinched waist that the termites don’t have. They are either black, brown or a red like color. Ants do not consume cellulose, so they will not destroy wood like a termite will. They prefer eating nectar, seeds, other insects and food debris left behind by humans. Therefore, it is important to keep the floors and countertops of a kitchen clean. Also, make efforts to take the trash out of the home frequently. Take the time to rinse out any recyclable cans or bottles and store in pest-proof containers. These are just some good habits to start to avoid an issue.

While ants can be annoying, if the flying pests around appear to be termites, it is very important that the homeowner contact a Pest Control company as soon as possible. Termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the structure of the home or even outbuildings if left unaddressed. The longer they go untreated, the more damage the home will suffer. Those that want to take preventative measures before there is a problem can speak to a professional as well.

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