Swarming termites or ants? Know your insects.

The two can be easy to confuse as both in earlier stages have wings. It is important as a home owner to be aware of the difference in the two.

flying termite and flying ant

During the course of each year immature termites from established colonies transform into larger nymphs with wing buds. These individuals further transform into sexually mature males and females called swarmers. Swarmers have two pairs of long narrow wings of equal size. Unlike most termites, swarmers are dark, almost black in color

The combination of warm temperatures and rain in the spring leads swarmers to leave the nest in large numbers by flying through mud tube constructed tunnels for the termites to use to exit the colony. Termites continue to swarm throughout the warm temperatures but are most common during Spring. Colonies normally only swarm once per season, but can multiple times in lower intensity than the first.  Most swarming occurs during the day, and the activity is brief.  The swarming termites are not good flyers, however they can be transported through wind.  If wind is strong enough they can be carried great distance before reaching ground.

So how do these guys differ from ants?  Here are a few identifiers to help you out!

  1. Both species have four wings, but termite wings are uniform in size. Winged ants have noticably larger wings in the front than than the pair in the back.
  2. Termites antennae are almost straight where the ants antennae are elbowed.
  3. Termite wings are twice as long as their body. Ant wings are shorter and more proportionate to their bodies.
  4. Ants appear distinctly segmented, because of their thin waist. Termites have a broad waist and are mostly a uniform width along their entire body.

If you are still unsure of the difference and have swarms near your home feel free to contact us at Preferred Pest Control and Turf Management, the sooner your home is protected the better.

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