Did I just see an...
Ant with wings?
Need help with a pest problem?
Making sure it's not
As things thaw up quick now that April is in full swing, you may come across a swarm of insects that give you pause. In late spring and early summer a ritual takes place across the world among a commonly grounded group of insects. They’ll look like ants…but they’ll be flying. If you’re a homeowner, this should raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Especially if you see these near your property.
What you don’t want to be seeing is termites. Termite damage to your home, if left untreated, can become severe over a relatively short period of time. The good news is, you might actually be seeing winged ants.
So what’s the difference between termites and winged ants?
There are certain ant species that actually grow wings when they become reproductively active. You might see them determinedly roving about, because they’re arguably conducting the most important task of their life: mating. Winged ants are usually males and younger queens.
If it IS a swarm of winged ants you’re seeing, they’ll probably barely notice your presence. They have far more pressing matters to attend to than bothering you. Mating happens mid-flight from them, so the swarm has less to do with aggression than it does with protection and reproduction.
Alas, as with so many species, after mating the males will perish. Females who have been fertilized will locate a nesting site to build their colonies, and that’s the last you’ll see of the swarm for another 365 days.
How do I tell them apart?
The inherent problem with winged ants, as alluded to above, is that they closely resemble the same wood-eating termites that can wreak havoc on your property. To further cloud the waters, when termites are in their reproductive stage they closely resemble winged ants.
What follows are some quick differences you can look for to make sure you’re not dealing with the wood eating variety of pest.
To begin with, look at the wings. The noticeably odd thing about ant wings is that they’re two different sizes. Termites have identically sized wings, so this should be a quick tell-tale sign for you to key into.
Secondly, the antennae of ants and termites differ. If you see antennae that are straight, you’re unfortunately likely dealing with a termite. If they’re bent, you’re in luck! That’s a flying ant.
Lastly, flying ant waists resemble ant waists in general. They’re pinched, whereas termites have a thicker, more uniformly straight waist.
What if I'm still not sure?
Give us a call at (269) 424-3458. We’d be happy to walk you through both the detection AND prevention process if they turn out to be termites. When in doubt, contact us! It’s what we’re here for.
We’re here to assist! Give us a call at (269) 424-3458!