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Flying Ants vs. Termites: What’s the Difference?

Flying ants are often mistaken for a swarm of termites, scaring Arizona homeowners into believing they have a serious pest problem that could wreak havoc on their home’s structure. Both winged insects look so similar that it’s easy to mistake a flying ant for a termite, but fortunately for homeowners, not all flying bugs are termites.

Although on first glance, both flying ants and flying termites look similar, they are not the same type of pest. By knowing how to determine the difference between flying ants and termites quickly, you can avoid an unnecessary headache and learn how to address your pest problem properly.

The Difference Between Flying Ants and Termites

When you first catch sight of one of these flying pests, their winged, dark appearance may confuse you — but are flying ants and termites the same thing? The short answer is they are a different species of insects. Termites have a short, straight black or dark brown body with straight antennae. Flying termites — often called swarmers — are easily distinguishable by their wings. Termite wings are long and uniform length-wise.

Flying ants have a cinched waist and black, brown or reddish coloring with a pair of bent antennae. To fly around, ants have two pairs of wings with unequal lengths, the second lower set being smaller.

Behavioral and Habitat Differences

Both flying ants and termites live in large colonies. However, you can find termites in decaying trees, stumps, wood debris or a wooden structure, such as a house. Ants often colonize in wood materials, but a telltale difference between the two pests is termites will eat the wood, causing structural damage and eventually instability, while ants will not. Ants prefer eating plants, seeds, other insects and food debris.

The Lifespan of a Flying Ant vs. Termite

Ants typically have a much shorter lifespan than termites with four life stages including egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most worker ants will live for several months while the queen ant can survive for many years. Termites, however, can live for about two years, and queens can thrive for decades. Both termites and flying ants will sprout a set of wings and fly from their nests to mate and create new colonies. Male ants will die off after the mating process while termites’ wings will fall off, and both male and female insects will contribute to their new colonies.

Addressing Your Pest Problem

Besides their physical differences, you can spot a termite infestation by noting discarded wings near windows and doorways, mud tubes around your home’s exterior or damaged wood surfaces. When you see termites scurrying through your home, make sure to call your local pest control experts to evaluate the extent of your termite infestation and develop the most effective solution.

For flying ant swarms, you’ll often find them in damp, wet or rotting wood — repair or replace the infested, damaged wood and use insecticides to kill off any lingering ants. Reach out to a trained pest control professional for industrial-grade remedies to deal with heavily infested areas.

Trust Green Home Pest Control for Your Arizona Pest Control Needs

Green Home Pest Control is Phoenix’s leading pest control experts and can handle any type of pest control request including termites, flying ants and more. Learn more about our pest control services today and which solutions will work best for your home — call us today at 480-525-7378, or request a free project quote by filling out our online form.

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