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.
How do Termite Swarmers and Carpenter Ants Look Alike?
- 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.
- 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.