How to Tell the Difference Between Ants and Termites

May 1, 2018

Termites on woodIf you spot winged insects that look similar to ants, they might be swarming termites. It is important for you to understand how to tell the difference between winged ants and termites so that you can choose the correct approach to treating the problem. Here are some ways that you can tell these insects apart.

Body Differences (Easiest Difference to Spot)

Ants have a distinct three body parts; head, midsection and abdomen with a narrowing between the second & third section or an hourglass shaped midsection or “wasp waist”. Termites have bodies that are more uniform, with only the head and rear section obvious.

Wing Differences

When you look at a flying ant or a termite, you will see that they have four wings. However, the wings look different in the two species. Termite wings are all equal in size. Ants, by contrast, have front wings that are much bigger than the smaller wings underneath. Termite wings are double the lengths of the insects’ bodies. Ants have shorter wings that are proportionate to their body sizes.

Antennae Differences

The antennae of flying ants and termites are also different. On termites, the antennae are straight, beaded antennae. Ants have shorter antennae that can bend so that they look similar to an elbow shape.

Durability of the Wings

Termites chew their wings off shortly after emerging, so they can mate. You will often find numerous, iridescent wings laying near where the termites swarm.

Mud Tubes

Termites line the wood they consume with dirt. When termites swarm you will often find dirt sticking around the hole they are emerging from. If you “dust” the dirt away from the hole, termites will quickly fill it back up again. Ants tend to make mound of loose dirt on the ground when they emerge from the soil.

Why It Is Important to Identify Which Insect Is Present

Termites and carpenter ants have different pest control methods that are used to eliminate them. The ants may be controlled by getting rid of the conditions that led them to your property. Termite infestations require more intense methods and will necessitate the help of a professional. If you see winged insects and are uncertain whether they are termites, carpenter ants or another winged insect species, try to capture some of them in a jar, or take a photo with a coin next to the bodies for size perspective. The professionals at RID Pest Control can look at the insect and tell you what it is. We are also able to inspect your property and advise you of the best methods that you can use to eliminate your pest control problems. It is important for you to promptly address infestations of termites before they cause significant damage to your property.

Be sure to contact RID Pest Control today for a free consultation! We proudly serve Atlantic and Cape May County, so reach out to us today and let our professionals help rid your pest worries!

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