What’s the Difference Between a Termite and a Flying Ant?

Carpenter ants are commonly mistaken for termites in Albuquerque NM - Learn the difference from Pest Defense Solutions!

Was that a termite you saw, or a flying ant? These two insects are commonly mistaken for one another in the springtime when they swarm. Flying ants, known as carpenter ants, are the most destructive ant species in the nation. However, they don’t hold a torch to the damage caused by termites annually! In the swarmer stages of their lives, these two wood-destroying insects are commonly mistaken for each other. It’s important to understand these two. Keep reading for expert info on the difference between a termite and a flying ant from the professionals at Pest Defense Solutions.

The Damage Caused by Wood-Destroying Pests

Although they both have wood destroying capabilities, termites are typically more dangerous than carpenter ants. The main differences in habit between these two include:

  • Termites make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil.
  • Established termite colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day.
  • Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into normal wood, insulation, or wall voids.
  • Excavated termite galleries appear to have been sanded. Carpenter ants do not create the extensive damage termites do.

Winged ant vs. termite in Albuquerque NM - Pest Defense Solutions

How do Termite Swarmers and Carpenter Ants Look Alike?

It can be difficult to tell apart termites from carpenter ants. In the swarmer stage, the both appear very similar save for a few key differences:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers: These are black in color, with some species having slightly red coloring. Carpenter ants measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Their wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant. Carpenter ant swarmers are bigger than termite swarmers.
  2. Termite swarmers: Usually, termite swarmers are black to brown in color and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body; this is the best way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.

How to Prevent Termites & Flying Ants

Both termites and carpenter ants can cause a lot of property damage, which is why it’s important to learn how to prevent both! Your best defense against a wood-destroying insect is to sign up for annual inspections from a professional pest control company such as Pest Defense Solutions. Our termite exterminators can conduct thorough property inspections on your Albuquerque NM home or business to look for early signs of termites and carpenter ants.

The Real Dangers of Rodent Infestations

Rats chew on wires and create hazards in Albuquerque NM homes. New Mexico Pest Control shares info on the dangers of rodents.
 

Whether you own a home or business in the Albuquerque area, you know that rodents are a problem throughout the entire year. In addition to simply being gross, rats and mice can create a hazardous environment. Perhaps the most dangerous thing about rodents is the fact that they are capable of carrying and transmitting diseases, including hantavirus and salmonella. Because rodent problems are so common in the area all year long, it’s important to learn about the real dangers of rodents.

The Damage Rats & Mice Cause

Rats and mice can wreak havoc in your property with their nesting and chewing habits. These pests aren’t picky and can create a mess digging through your garbage. Additionally, rats have incisors that never stop growing … meaning they never stop chewing! One of the most dangerous things rats chew on are electrical wires. Needless to say, exposed wires can become a fire hazard. Additionally, rats and mice will tear up any type of material to create nests. If you have rodents in your property, you can be sure you’ll have a lot of cleanup to take care of in their wake!

Common Rodent Diseases

In New Mexico and all around the world, there are a number of serious illnesses and health risks tied back to the presence of rodents. These pathogens can be spread directly or indirectly. Mice-borne diseases are spread directly to humans through contact with droppings, saliva, and bites. They are transmitted indirectly through ticks, fleas, and mites. The main three rodent-borne diseases to be aware of include:

  • Hantavirus
    • Most often found in the urine and feces of deer mice, hantavirus can cause symptoms from fever and chills to aches in pains. In serious cases or when it is not treated, it can lead to shortness of breath and kidney failure.
  • Salmonella
    • When rats and mice walk over surfaces, they are tracking dirt and bacteria across other food surfaces. Salmonella, commonly referred to as food poisoning, can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and worse.
  • Rat-bite fever
    • Also known as Streptobacillus, rat-bite fever is usually caused by a bite or scratch from an infected rat. It is also caught by handling infected animals and ingesting food or drink contaminated with the rat’s feces or urine.

How to Get Rid of Rodents in Albuquerque

If you notice the presence of rats or mice inside your property, it’s time to call a rodent exterminator. At Pest Defense Solutions, our mice exterminators have the experience needed to properly get rid of infestations and ensure you are protected from future rodent problems. Our goal is to keep you, your family, and your property safe from the dangers of rodents year-round.

6 Important Pests of 2020

2020 pests to look out for in your Albuquerque NM home this year - Pest Defense Solutions

Hindsight may be 20/20, but when it comes to protecting your family and home against pests this year, you can be proactive with the help of Pest Defense Solutions. We are helping homeowners prepare for the upcoming pest season by offering insight into anticipated pest activity.

At Pest Defense Solutions, we have examined trends, company data and our own field experiences to determine the following six pest predictions. Additionally, we have provided preventative tips to help keep your home pest-free this year.


Mosquitoes

Disease-spreading mosquitoes, such as the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito, have recently surged in some Western states. These mosquitoes, as well as the common house mosquito, spread diseases such as the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). A bite from a mosquito can also spread the parasite that causes heartworm in pets.

Homeowner Tips: West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, can increase with rising populations. And, mosquitoes only need one tablespoon of water to lay their eggs! To protect yourself and your family, dispose of any standing water around your home and always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when spending any time outdoors.


Rats

Rat populations have increased over the past several years, and this may be partly due to warmer than usual winters. We can expect to see that trend continue as rodent populations, especially in suburban areas, increase. Warmer winters, a booming construction pipeline, lack of sanitation control, and lack of affordable housing are all issues that have advanced the swell of recent rat activity.

Homeowner Tips: To prevent rodents from entering your home, utilize the following prevention tips: Keep shrubs and trees cut back from home, especially thick ground cover that can serve as hiding places for rats. Ensure that trees do not overhang, touching the roof of your home. Seal any exterior openings larger than a nickel with rodent-proof material such as hardware cloth or flashing. Finally, seal and tie trash bags, placing them into garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.


Termites

Termites are one of the most destructive pests, causing homeowners in the United States $6 billion in property damages each year. These wood-destroying pests are a constant challenge for homeowners in the Western U.S., and this year, termites could prove to be even more damaging. The experts at Pest Defense Solutions have seen an increase in activity from subterranean and dampwood termites in many areas this year.

Homeowner Tips: Earth-to-wood contact provides an avenue for termites to enter homes and structures. To deter termites, eliminate soil to wood contact and avoid moisture accumulations near your homes’ foundation. Termites can be present for years before homeowners ever see signs of their activity, causing considerable and costly damage. Avoid these costs by having a termite protection plan in place. Speak to your pest control provider about risk and protection options for your home.


Cockroaches

Cockroach populations have increased dramatically over the past several years, due in large part to warmer weather and increased rainfall. Cockroaches carry diseases, infest stored food, and then spread these diseases through their excrement. Cockroach removal is vital as infestations can be serious if not taken care of in a timely manner.

Homeowner Tips: To deter an infestation, cockroach-proof your home by sealing small cracks and crevices around windows and door frames with a silicone-based caulk. Keep a clean kitchen, sweeping, mopping and wiping up any spills. Check that door seals, including the one on your garage, are in place and intact. If you’re experiencing cockroach problems, speak with your pest control professional to determine the best solution for your home.


Flies

If you have noticed more flies this past year, you are not alone. Although they’re more active in the summer, house flies reproduce year-round. Filth flies – house flies, bottle flies, flesh flies – generally live and breed near human habitats and their numbers have increased in recent years. Increasing population density, waste management practices that haven’t kept pace with growth, and a general trend toward a warming climate for the fly pressure all contribute to increasing this disease-spreading insect.

Homeowner Tips: The house fly and other types of “filth flies” are not only nuisance pests; they also have the potential to spread the disease to humans and animals. To protect yourself and your family, repair any damaged screens on windows and doors. Keep trash stored away from your home and make sure that all trash cans have tight-fitting lids.


Spiders

Spiders are carnivores, eating other insects and thriving in wet environments. Increased moisture leads to an increase in the insects that spiders eat as a food resource. Heavy rain and warmer temperatures have created the perfect conditions for insects and spiders to flourish. Although beneficial for our ecosystem, most people prefer spiders to stay outside where they belong.

Homeowner Tips: To keep spiders out of your home, keep food put away in tightly sealed storage containers. This will help eliminate ants, roaches and other pests, which will leave spiders with no food source. If the thought of spiders lurking is alarming, try changing your white outdoor light bulbs to yellow light bulbs, which attract fewer insects that can serve as food for the spiders. There are a few species of spiders that can live indoors and need to be controlled by spider removal experts.


The experts at Pest Defense Solutions agree that a proactive approach can help eliminate pest issues before they appear. With these pest predictions in mind, take time to evaluate your current pest control plan and make sure that you have the protection you need to protect yourself and your family from pests this year.