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Flying Ants Versus Termites

One of the most commonly confused pests are termites and ants. In particular, flying ants and termite swarmers. Improper identification of these insects could be a costly mistake for any homeowner. We will explain the difference between the two insects and what to do if you suspect you are in need of a termite or carpenter ant treatment. 

Flying Ants Versus Termites

Anatomy and Appearance:

Subterranean Termites:

- Termites have straight antennae, a wide uniform body, and the workers are pale in color. Swarmers however are darker in color, similar to the Carpenter Ant. 

- Their wings are equal in size and extend beyond their body.

-Typically, smaller than Carpenter Ants with an approximate size of 1/8 of an inch. 

Carpenter Ants:

- Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae, a narrow waist, and are usually dark brown or black.

- Their wings vary in size, with the front pair being larger than the hind pair.

-Larger than termites, between ¼ to 1 inch long.

Nesting Behavior:

Subterranean Termites:

- Termites build their nests underground, creating intricate tunnel systems.

- They rely on mud tubes for protection and moisture.

Carpenter Ants:

- Carpenter ants nest in wood, excavating galleries for their colonies.

- They do not consume the wood but can cause structural damage.

Feeding Habits:

Subterranean Termites:

- Termites feed on cellulose found in wood, paper, and other plant-based materials.

Carpenter Ants:

- Carpenter ants do not eat wood; instead, they tunnel through it to build their nests.

- They primarily feed on insects and sweet substances.

Flying Ants vs. Swarming Termites:

Flying Ants:

- Flying ants are reproductive members of the carpenter ant colony.

- They have a pinched waist, elbowed antennae, and distinct body segments.

Swarming Termites:

- Swarming termites are the reproductive caste in the termite colony.

- They have a broad waist, straight antennae, and a uniform body.

Knowing the difference between subterranean termites and carpenter ants is crucial for implementing the proper treatment program. Understanding their anatomy, nesting behavior, and feeding habits empowers homeowners to take effective preventive measures. Additionally, recognizing the nuances between flying ants and swarming termites allows for targeted pest control strategies, ensuring a pest-free and structurally sound home. If you suspect you are dealing with Termites or Carpenter Ants, give us a call at (270) 564-8077.

Liberty Pest Control


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