Fort Myers Pest Control: Tip 2 “How Do I Know If I Have Flying Termites or Flying Ants?”

 

Flying Termites

This is the 2nd of 7 Tips to Prevent Termites from Eating You Out of House & Home which can be downloaded for FREE from my library of eBooks.

Learning the difference between flying termites and flying ants during the Spring swarming season in Florida can be difficult. Often, winged ants can resemble the winged-swarming termite.

For example, BOTH termites and ants…

  • Are small with 6 legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen
  • Have species that can be tiny or big
  • Have queens who lay eggs and kings who fertilize them
  • Have a worker caste who do most of the running around and hauling
  • Have soldiers who defend the nest

Now, when it comes to species, ants far outnumber termites in the variety. There are about 4,000 species of termites, but ants have close to 14,000!

Although they have many similarities, ants and termites do have some distinctive differences. If you know these differences, it is actually quite easy to decipher flying termites from flying ants and you won’t even need a microscope.

When the bug is standing relatively still, look for these characteristics.

Wings:

  • Flying termites have 2 pairs of wings that are the same size and shape, and are twice as long as their body.
  • Flying ants, however, have front wings that are larger than their hind ones and are generally no longer than their body.

Body:

  • Termites have a two-segmented body, with fairly short legs
  • Ants have a three-segmented body, narrow waist, and longer legs

Midsection:

  • Termites do not have a slender waist, their entire body is basically the same width around
  • Ants have “wasp waists” (meaning it is a very narrow connection between the thorax and abdomen, just like in wasps)

Antenna:

  • Termites have straight antennae, like a string of pearls
  • Ants’ antennae are bent like elbows and longer

Color:

  • Termites have softer bodies and are typically whitish, often almost see-through. You can usually see the food in their gut, but the flying ones are usually much darker
  • Ants have darker, more hardened skin, and are usually black, dark red, or brown

Flying Ant (Photo courtesy of Charles Lam)In addition to their physical differences, ants and termites also behave differently. Ants are almost always easier to find, and often live in visible holes or nests. They may also come from cracks in the concrete, and their nests are formed by removing earth from holes they dig in the ground.

Termites, however, are usually hidden. They often enter a wooden home and seal the entrance. They may also live in the soil and form tunnels to get to and from their feeding ground…wood.

They also have different eating habits. Ants feed on just about anything, from anything sweet, to leaves, vegetables, and even other bugs. Termites stick to a very strict diet of wood.

Want to learn more? We have two FREE eBooks for you to choose from:

7 Tips to Prevent Termites from Eating You Out of House and Home 5 Things You Need to Know About Subterranean Termites

If you’re dealing with a termite infestation right now, request a free termite inspection from your friendly neighborhood Fort Myers Pest Control company.

-Keith