Even with all of the uncertainty we are facing right now in our country amidst the global pandemic of Covid-19, one thing is for certain…Spring is here and in full force. For those of us down in the South, we’ve had some days that already feel like summer! And for a lot of us being quarantined in our houses has been the perfect time to work on some of those “at-home projects” we’ve been putting on the back burner for so long. One of which may be getting outside and doing some serious yard work. With that being the case, we have had an influx of calls about flying insects. Are they ants or are they termites?
During this time of year it is not uncommon to see winged ants or winged termites flying or crawling around the house. Especially if you’re out in the yard pulling weeds, replacing mulch or pinestraw, or removing old limbs that may have fallen during some early Spring storms. So the question becomes.....how do you tell the difference between the two? Fortunately, there are three easily identifiable features to compare that will help determine if the insect is an ant or a termite.
The first and most immediately recognizable feature to compare when identifying a swarming ant versus a swarming termite is the length of the wings. The wings of a swarming ant will be slightly, if at all, longer than it’s body, and oftentimes spread out in a “V” shape. However, the wings of a swarming termite will be considerably longer than the body. Also, when a termite swarmer is crawling on the ground, the wings tend to lay atop one another in a straight line down the body of the termite. This makes it very distinguishable almost immediately.
The second distinguishing feature that will provide an identification between a swarming ant and a swarming termite is the "waist line". A swarming ant will have the same pinched waist that a non-swarming ant has while a swarming termite will have a consistently broad body outline. A winged ant will have three distinct body segments, and the pinched waist makes that easy to spot quickly.
The final feature useful (although not immediately recognizable to an untrained eye) in distinguishing a swarming ant from a swarming termite is the antennae. An antenna of a swarming ant will be bent or elbowed while an antenna of a swarming termite will be straight and beaded. You might need a magnifying glass to see these differences, however it could be a useful tool if still uncertain after observing the first two characteristics.
So, if you happen to be using this time at home to work in your yard, and are experiencing a problem with swarming ants, swarming termites, or any other pest issue, please contact Mr. Bugg's Pest Patrol today for a free evaluation!