Flying ants and flying termites can look very much alike, but knowing the difference between flying ants and flying termites is important. When you correctly identify the pest that you have, you will be one step closer to getting rid of your problem.
Look closely at the pest you have on hand; While the two have similar wings, flying ants actually have a larger pair of wings in the front than they do in the back. The wings on the termite are actually longer than their bodies. Flying ants have wings that are more proportionate to their body size. This type of ant will actually shed its wings once they swarm.
When checking out their antennae, notice that termites have antennae that are straight. Flying ants have antennae that are bent.
Flying ants have a thin waist (making them appear segmented) but termites have a broad waist, making their entire bodies uniform.
Termite Swarming vs. Ant Swarming
Flying termites tend to swarm in the early spring; they like weather that is warm and rainy. Flying ants, on the other hand, can swarm at different times of the year: they have no set pattern. Again, after they have swarmed, they lose their wings.
To really protect your home from termites, start with some prevention tips. Get rid of moisture: repair leaky pipes and faucets. If your air condition leaks, fix it! Make sure to divert water away from the foundation of your home.
Keep your gutters clean of debris and don’t use wood mulch in your yard or garden if you can help it. If you have a fireplace, do not keep a stockpile of firewood near your home’s foundation. You know termites love wood, so why entice them? And if you have dead shrubs or trees on your property, remove them immediately.
If you do end up with termites, those awful things that can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, you can call a professional to get rid of them, or you can try some do-it-yourself tricks.
When you first see flying termites outside your home, invest in a bug zapper. Flying insecticide spray works, too.
If you see an active colony on your property, you have to attack the colony. Simply getting them in the air won’t do it. Sprays and traps that are dedicated to termites are your best bet. Once you see the colony, use insecticide spray all the way around your home’s foundation. A baiting system will starve the colony, so you can place baiting stations all around your home, spacing them out about a foot.
Preventing Flying Ants
Flying ants love food! To prevent them, simply get rid of food waste. Don’t leave food lying around; deal with leftovers immediately, keep your counters free of crumbs, lock your food up tightly, and take out the garbage right away if you have food waste in it (or find a secure garbage can).
Eliminating Flying Ants
If you have seen flying ants in or around your home, you must first locate the nest. They may be coming in from the outside, and you will most likely find their nest outdoors. Once you find it, pour boiling water down it or use a spray that is designed for flying ants. If the nest is indoors, bait is the perfect solution. Place bait stations around your home.
If there is no nest in your house, make sure to seal up all cracks and crevices around windows and doors, as this is probably how they are entering.
Additional Resources for Ant & Termite Identification:
Swarming Indoor Insects – Texas A&M
Differences Between Ants & Termites – Never Pest
Winged Ants & Termites in Houses – Kansas State University Department of Entomology