Ants are annoying and termites are expensive – but do you really know the difference between flying ants versus termites?
According to the EPA, property owners spend over two billion dollars on termite damage every year. Few things make the heart sink more than seeing these critters swarming around your home.
Termites are not the only flying bugs that chow down on wood. You also need to watch out for some species of flying ants. Let’s dig into flying ants versus termites so you can know your enemy!
Flying Ants versus Termites: The Basic Facts
Flying ants and termites both love wood. But they don’t like it in the same way and they don’t eat the same types of wood.
Termites spend most of their time underground. They travel through the soil and along mud tubes until they reach their goal – wood.
Unlike flying ants, termites actually eat wood. They like wood that is either in good condition or partly decayed. This means that when they look at your home, they basically see an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Termites can also make their home in wooden structures. Because they are relatively unobtrusive, the colony may be very well established before you realize it. By that time, they may have already done extensive damage to your home.
Flying Ant Behavior
Flying ants are not a separate species of ants. They are sexually mature ants that are on the lookout for a new home. When they’re on the move, all they’re thinking about is mating.
After mating, queen ants shed their wings and stay inside the colonies. They lay thousands of eggs each year and can live for many years. Most of their offspring will be wingless worker ants.
They’re the ones you find marching their way around your house, looking for food to take back to the colony.
The spectacle of swarming flying ants is not a pleasant one. But they don’t bite and they’re not interested in interacting with humans. This will generally happen during late spring or early summer when climatic conditions tell them that it’s time to move.
One type of flying ant – carpenter ants – loves wood. They just aren’t equipped to eat it. Instead, they like to find wood that has already been softened by fungus or water and burrow their way through it and create nests in it.
Even though they don’t eat the wood, to the homeowner the difference is academic. They still cause major damage and you’ll need to replace any wood that they invade.
Identifying Flying Ants versus Termites
Trying to identify flying ants versus termites is no mean feat, especially at a distance. The only really reliable way is to inspect one up close.
Flying ants have wings that are unequal in length. They have an incredibly thin, pinched-in waist, creating two distinct sections to their bodies. Their antennae are usually bent.
Termites have a straight abdomen and don’t have the pinched-in waist of a flying ant. Plus, their wings are equal in length. Their antennae are straight. These are easy ways to tell the difference between flying ants versus termites.
Getting Rid of Flying Ants
If you’ve got flying ants in your home that you can see, grab your vacuum and start sucking them up. Carefully dispose of the contents outside so they can’t get back in.
Inspect all the wood in your house. If you find damage caused by flying ants, repair it as soon as possible. You need to remove all the wood they have nested in to completely remove them from your home.
Alternatively, call in pest control to handle the issue. Professionals like PMi understand the biology and living habits of these pesky critters. That knowledge and their specialist equipment mean they’re best placed to take care of the problem.
Preventing Ant Infestations
With good maintenance and a few housekeeping tips, you can usually keep ants at bay whether they are flying ants or not.
Make sure that all food in the house is kept in sealed containers. They’re attracted by sweet things so make sure they don’t have access to them.
Go around your home regularly and look out for any decaying or damp wood. Take steps to repair it before ants take up residence. Pay particular attention to structural wood near ground level that is more prone to rot.
Make sure windows are well sealed to prevent them from gaining access to your home that way.
Getting Rid of Termites
It’s very hard to effectively rid your home of termites with DIY methods. It can involve digging trenches, drilling, and dealing with the damage to your property. In many cases, the way your home is constructed may require different methods to ensure a proper treatment. You need to call in a reputable pest control company that specializes in termite control.
The government regulates chemical termite treatments. Most of them can only be used by trained pest management professionals. If you think you’ve got an infestation, do not delay in seeking professional help.
Preventing Termite Infestations
Termites can be determined invaders and one of the options available is for a trained and certified professional to install bait stations to keep them at bay. Sentricon is a system that can keep infestations at bay. It lures termites into bait stations.
Termites then feed on the bait and take it back to the colony. This helps facilitate eliminating the termite colony.
Other systems use termite monitors that qualified pest control companies will monitor regularly. If they find termites they can effectively treat the problem before a major infestation occurs.
An effective liquid treatment is also a popular option to keep your home protected from termites.
How to Get Rid of Winged Invaders
Identifying flying ants versus termites is easy id you know what to look for. Take a good look at their wings and bodies, and you’ll be in no doubt.
Although some flying ants don’t do much harm, termites and carpenter ants can cause serious damage. Don’t take a chance. Call Pest Management Systems Inc. We’ll thoroughly inspect your property and recommend a treatment to eliminate the infestation.
Call us at 877-NO-PEST1 or contact us online today!
While these steps/tips will help you learn the difference between flying ants versus termites, and reduce the likelihood of a flying ant/termite infestation, there is no guaranteed way to eliminate all risk.