Spring brings warm weather and sunshine. It also brings swarms – of termites and flying ants! These two pests are often confused for each other. How can you tell the difference? What can you do if you have them swarming near your home – or even inside it?
While termites and flying ants look very similar, there are some key differences between the two. Both pests have 4 wings but all 4 termite wings are the same size while flying ants have larger front wings and smaller back wings. Termite wings are also twice as long as their body while flying ants have wings that are more proportionate in size to their bodies. Another difference is in their antennae. Termites have straight antennae while ants have antennae that are bent like elbows. Finally, termites have a broad waist with a nearly uniform body width. Flying ants have segmented bodies with narrow waists.
Termites swarm at different times during the year depending on which type of termite they are. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring, while drywood termites swarm in late summer and early fall. Dampwood termites swarm in the summer. Flying ants swarm in late spring and early summer.
Both termites and flying ants swarm for the same reason – to reproduce. Swarm season is used to reproduce and to establish new colonies. They both require certain weather conditions to swarm which include warm weather, bright sunlight, and high humidity which is why they will usually swarm after a few days of spring rain.
If you have a swarm of insects in or near your home, the first thing you should do is contact a professional pest control company. They can come out and identify the type of swarming insect you have, as well as provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan and a prevention plan going forward to make sure they don’t come back.