How to Tell Termites From Ants

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

Photo courtesy of ABC Termite

If you see signs of pests in your home, you may wonder how to determine what they are. Ants and termites have certain features that make them hard to tell apart. However, the type of pest removal that you need to do is very different depending on which one you have. You may not realize that some species of ants have wings, swarm, and can fly. Fortunately, you can learn how to tell termites from ants.

Examine the Wings

Both termites and flying ants have four wings but the wings are different. You will notice that termites have four wings that are all the same size. On the other hand, flying ants have larger wings in the front and smaller wings in the back. You will need to see them when they are stationary to examine their wings but if the wings are different size, you know that they are ants. In addition, the termite wings are twice as long as their bodies whereas ant wings are shorter and more proportionate to their bodies. If the pests do not have wings, then they are definitely ants because all termites have wings.

Once you find either pest in your home, they have likely already established a colony in the structure of your walls. You should call for pest control to remove them. Termites can do severe damage to the structure of your home over time. Ants may be less of a threat but they do serve as a warning sign that part of your structure could be compromised and they can be a warning sign for water damage.

Look at the Bodies of the Pests

Another way to tell the difference between termites and ants is by looking at their bodies. Ants have a thin waist and look segmented. Termites are the same width throughout the length of their bodies. In addition, they have different antennae. The ants have antennae that are elbowed while termites’ antennae are nearly straight.

When you see either of these pests in your home, there is a colony nearby. Although termites do more damage to your home, ants can damage it as well. You will want to bring in a professional pest control team to get rid of either pest before they do some major damage to your home.

Notice What Time of Year it Is

Another slight difference is the time of year when each pest swarms. Flying ants swarm in late spring or early summer. They need bright sunlight, low wind action, high humidity, and warm temperatures. Conditions are ideal after between three and five days of rain. They emerge at this time to start mating.

Termites usually swarm one time a year to expand their colonies. The swarms of termites are the official beginning of termite season. While subterranean termites swarm in spring during the day, drywood termites and other species swarm in late summer and early fall. If you notice pests swarming at this time of the year, do not wait to call for pest control. Termites wait until their colony is a certain size and they need the weather to be ideal. They prefer a warm day when the wind is calm just after rainfall.

Although it is important to note the differences between ants and termites, an infestation of either is detrimental to your home. Once you notice them in the home or swarming, they have likely already infested your home. They can do significant damage over time so you need to have them removed by a professional pest control expert.

When you see these pests near your windows or by the baseboards, you can examine them to determine what type of pest they are. Look at their wings first and examine the body and the antennae. Note the time of year and do not waste any time calling for help from a local pest control expert.

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