Every year, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) sponsors Termite Awareness Week. They created this week to bring public awareness to the damage wood eating insects can cause, including flying termites.
We are partnering with the NPMA to educate our customers and community on the difference between termite swarmers (termites with wings) and flying ants (or ant swarmers). We’ve also included some prevention tips and signs of an infestation homeowners should be aware of.
How to tell the difference between flying ants vs flying termites
Flying termites or swarmers are also called “alates.” Many homeowners mistake termite alates for flying ants and vice versa. To identify whether you have flying ants versus termites, look for three distinct differences:
- Discarded wings: Termite alate use their wings to scout new locations for colonies. Once their colonies are established and they have mated, they no longer need their wings and shed them. While flying ants can discard wings, termites do so in higher concentrations.
- Waist size: Flying ants have narrow, defined, hourglass-shaped waists whereas termites have broad waists that are uniform with the rest of their body.
- Length of wings: Termites have two sets of wings that are equal in length. Flying ants have larger front wings and smaller hind wings that are unequal in length.
- Antenna: Flying ants have straight antennae while termite’s antennae are bent.
Why Termites Fly
Termite Swarmers are reproductive male and female termites in search of new locations to form a colony. They’re most abundant in the spring and show up early when temperatures reach about 70 degrees. Rain can also be a factor and alates are likely to fly after rainfall.
The females release a ‘mating pheromone’ to draw in a mate. After attracting a suitable male, the couple will break off their wings and mate. Then, they will go about the business of establishing a new colony.
What are Signs of a Termite Infestation
Because termites burrow into wood and often remain out of sight, warnings of an infestation may be subtle. Listed below are some of the signs to look out for:
- Mud tubes around the foundation of your home
- Hollow sounding wood
- Excessively squeaky floorboards
- Rotting wood
- Peeling paint
- Discarded insect wings.
How To Prevent Termites
Termites are tricky and can be a difficult pest to prevent. Here are tips, provided by the NPMA, to keep them at bay and help you identify them quickly before they become a bigger issue.
- Step 1: Keep basements and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry.
- Step 2: Inspect your home regularly for mud tubes, rotting wood and uneven or bubbling paint.
- Step 3: Maintain an 18-inch gap between the soil and any wood portions of your home.
- Step 4: Store firewood at least 5 inches off the ground and 20 feet from the home.
- Step 5: Consider partnering with a professional pest control company for annual termite inspections. Damage caused by wood boring insets is typically not covered by home insurance.
Ant Swarmers vs Termite Swarmers vs Your Home
If you discover any type of flying or burrowing pest in your home, Gregory Pest Solutions can eliminate them. We’ve helped satisfied customers beat termites and flying ants in Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana and across the Southern U.S. Call or contact us today for relief from these destructive and obnoxious pests.