September 8, 2022

Termite or Flying Ant? Understanding Your Pest Infestation!

Wait, is this a termite or flying ant? 

When the sun starts shining high in the sky, termites and carpenter ants gradually exit their hidden cavities in homes to engage in a mating flight in the air. 

Termites and ants aren’t pests you typically mistake for one another, but the winged reproductives look remarkably similar! Because both of these wood-boring pests reside within your walls, you may have trouble understanding the scope of your insect infestation.

Don’t worry! Here at Zunex, we have you covered. Keep reading to learn more about flying termites and ants. Plus, we’ll give you other tips for locating a colony!

Why Do These Insects Have Wings?

What do you picture when you think of a termite? You may imagine their squirmy tan bodies or even the bulky appearance of a soldier termite with their giant mouths. What about carpenter ants? Do you envision giant black ants gnawing through your home’s foundation?

You probably don’t think about any of these pests having wings and taking flight! Typical colony members for both species lack wings and spend their entire lives on the ground or inside a wooden cavity.

Long-standing termite and ant colonies eventually produce alates, or insects capable of reproducing. When you start to spot a termite or flying ant, it can tell you a few things:

  • It’s mating season.
  • A colony has grown large enough to produce alates
  • There’s potentially an insect infestation in your home!

If you see these pests inside, it’s time to start looking around for other signs of bugs. Termite and ant queens only give birth to winged insects after their colony has grown considerably, meaning you could be unaware of severe home damage!

Take a look at this video of flying ants ready to mate!

Reproductive Colony Members

For many insects that reside in colonies, one or more queens give birth to exclusively female workers that care for the nest. 

Termite workers are either male or female, but they cannot breed or give birth. These reproductive colony members are born once the initial hive matures. During spring and summertime mating seasons, the alates leave the nests to populate another area.

For male ants, their wings serve no other purpose beyond aiding reproduction. Soon after mating with a female ant, the male ant will die, and the pregnant queen searches for a new place to establish her home. 

Male termites are luckier! These pests can rule alongside their queens and enjoy the same pampering she receives from their children. 

For both insects, the queen’s winged children don’t stick around for long. After fully maturing, termites and ants quickly leave the nest and search for a new life outside their original home. 

Thankfully, most termite and carpenter ant infestations don’t become severe enough to yield more harmful young. 

However, it’s helpful to know the difference between these two insects. While both are destructive, termites can cause more home damage than the average carpenter ant infestation. 

Whenever you see winged pests indoors, take a closer look to understand what you’re dealing with! 

Termite or Flying Ant? Here’s What You Should Know

From afar, you may have some trouble understanding the difference between winged termites and ants. Both insects are relatively small and similar in color. 

Termites have longer wings that are generally the same length. Carpenter ants have differing-sized wings, with the upper one being considerably larger. 

While an ant’s body is distinctly separated into two sections, the thorax, and abdomen, termites have an entirely different body structure. These wood-boring pests lack the thin cinched waist indicative of all ant species.

Their antennae can even help you tell these pests apart. Termites have straight antennas that extend upwards from the center of their heads. Flying ants will have crooked or ‘elbowed’ antennae that sharply curve. 

Termite or Flying Ant Damage?

Both insects can cause extensive damage when left alone, but their method of boring through your home can give you a hint about which resides indoors. 

Carpenter ants won’t eat the wood they burrow through, so the markings are typically much smoother than termites. Carpenter ants also infest water-damaged areas, preferring to spend their time outdoors in rotting wood.

If carpenter ants are inside your home, there’s a good chance you have unseen moisture problems. Be sure to check for any leaky faucets, roof damage, or draining water heaters for signs of water. 

Termite tunnels aren’t as graceful. Unlike other insects, termites rely on wood as their primary food source. These pests will gnaw and chew at the wood in your home to meet their nutritional needs. 

If you catch sight of a termite colony, you may spot the rougher sprawling cavities. Plus, termites are more capable of causing extensive and long-lasting damage to your home’s foundation or interior. 

Carpenter ants typically only infest moistened wood, while most termite invaders won’t discriminate! 

The flying insects themselves won’t cause the damage you see, but they are a sign of a lingering pest infestation. After mating, they could even contribute to the pre-existing damage already in your home! 

Can I Get Rid of Termites or Carpenter Ants Alone?

While DIY pest control may work for other minor pests, we suggest turning to professionals when you need help with any wood-boring insect. 

Termites and carpenter ants are difficult to reach, and a large colony will need more than homemade remedies to dissolve their ranks. When you want help with an insect infestation, call Zunex Pest Control to lend a hand!

Here at Zunex, we can eliminate any of the carpenter ants inside or outside your home. Our trained technicians will survey your home for signs of the insects and apply a specialized treatment to get these insects gone for good. 

Whenever you’re struggling with annoying ants, contact us for a pest control service!

Schedule Today!

Contact your local Zunex pest expert to schedule a treatment today!