Many believe that flying ants are a precursor to finding termites or a termite infestation in a home – this is not always true.
Many species of ants have similarities to termites including a type of reproduction method in which the insect sends winged reproductive out of the colony, or most commonly known as ‘swarming’. There are a few methods one may use to distinguish an ant with wings from a termite with wings. One of the easiest ways to determine the difference between the two is to examine the body parts of the insect which is possible to achieve without the use of a microscope in most cases. Termites have two body parts : a head and a body. Ants, on the other hand, have three distinct body parts: a head, an abdomen, and a thorax.
Another comparable component between the two insects are the wings. As mentioned previously, ants have one thing in common – its body parts. When trying to determine whether an insect is a termite or not, one can use the method of pulling on the wings in order to examine the body parts of that insect. If it looks like an ant, it usually is. If it has two body parts: a head and a long body, it is usually a termite.
Antennaes may also play a role in distinguishing winged ants from winged termites. All ants have a bend in its antennae whereas termites do not. A termite’s antennae are beaded while an ant’s antennae have segments that end in a small club. Also, when wanting to treat a home for ant infestation, one must examine the number of sections, the size of the club, and even the absence of a club in order to determine the type of ant infestation.
Termite swarmers have four wings and so do swarming ants. All of the difference lies in the length of the wings. The wings of a swarming termite are all the same length where as the front wings of an ant are longer than the rear wings.
So far, we have determined that the main body parts, the shape of antennae, and the length of wings are all contributing factors to distinguishing a termite from an ant.
Another difference between the two is reproduction.
Termites endure a gradual metamorphosis and go through the egg, nymph, and adult stages. An ant, however, will go from an egg, to a larvae, then pupa, and then to the adult stage.
So what is next? Many people have questions about insects that they find in their home. Some popular questions a pest control center might ask include:
- Where did you find the termites? In other words, were they found inside of the home or on the exterior surface of the home?
- If found indoors, which rooms were involved?
- How many winged termites were found?
Some termite swarmers found on the exterior surface of a home could have accidentally landed on the sides of the home due to the wind currents, but if this is the case, there is no need to be alarmed. It is common for termites to land on your house due to wind. Having termites on a tree near your house shouldn’t be a huge cause for concern, either. However, if the swarmers were seen flying outside around windows, doors, garage doors, porch columns, or other concentrations of wood, there is a need for concern.
Something important to determine is whether the termites swarmed to your house or from your house. Obviously, if termites swarmed from your house, there could potentially be a termite infestation that should be taken care of immediately. Termites found swarming on the exterior of your home are usually there unintentionally. When these insects are found on your home, just remember that a termite swarmer cannot harm you. A swarmer is created for propagation of the species, not to break down wood. The worker termite, on the other hand, eats wood and can cause great damage to a structure. Though termite swarmers have the potential to be damaging; only one in every thousand is successful. There are many obstacles a termite must face before settling into the soil and creating multitudes of swarmers.
Locating flying termites inside your home is not something a homeowner would be particularly fond of. However, certain cases are better than others. For example, if a homeowner notices that only a few swarmers are indoors, they probably got in there on accident through a cracked window or someone’s shirt. However, if a homeownder (miss spelling) notices large numbers of swarmers, something must be done immediately. Large groups definitely signify that a colony is in or underneath the building.
Many people are concerned about finding pesticides to kill the swarming termites in their home, but that is not necessary because again, swarmers do not feed on your home. They are just indicators that a colony may exist in or beneath the home which would then need to be treated by a licensed professional or after contacting a pest control company.
When experiencing indoor swarmers, it is extremely helpful to the pest control operator if a homeowner collects information of the number of swarmers and the location they were found in. Though many swarmers may cause alarm, a thorough inspection is needed to determine the severity of the problem and the treatment necessary.