Termites Versus Flying Ants: How to Tell the Difference


Filed under: Termites


Spotting a swarm of flying insects in or around your home is certainly cause for alarm. This sight can often signal the beginning of a termite infestation, which can do serious structural damage to your home – not to mention the damage to your budget!

On the other hand, you might simply be looking at flying ants. While they’re annoying, and you probably want to get rid of them pretty quickly, they might not pose quite the same danger to your home and checking account (see exception to this rule below).

So, how do you tell the difference?

Winged termites will have:

  • straight antennae
  • a thick, straight waist
  • two sets of wings, of equal size
  • wings will look white, and stack on top of one another

By contrast, flying ants will have:

  • bent antennae
  • a pinched waist
  • two sets of wings, in different sizes
  • wings usually appear yellowish, and do not stack

The above guidelines can give you an idea of whether you have termites or winged ants, but if in doubt please try to get a close picture and call us. You never want to risk a termite infestation going any longer once you’ve discovered it, due to the amount of damage they can cause in a short period of time.

Carpenter ants are another possibility. While the queen and her workers do not have wings, swarmers do. And if your particular species of swarming ants turns out to be carpenter ants, they can do almost as much damage as termites. So even if you think “it’s just ants” you should still give us a call. We can take a look and determine whether you have carpenter ants, and help you get the problem under control right away.

Please remember that you can always call us with any pest control questions. We don’t mind coming out to help identify any insect you spot around your home, so that we can make specific recommendations on how to get rid of them.