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Nine Differences Between a Termite and Flying Ant

Termites and ants can do some significant damage in your home or property. Across the United States each year, termites cause over a billion dollars in damage. Homeowners typically confuse the appearance of termites and flying ants, so we are explaining the main differences.

The two pests do have some defining characteristics that can help you identify them so you can take immediate action. Subterranean termites are often confused with ants because they live underground and dig tunnels like ants.

Main Differences

Here are nine differences between termites and ants.

1. Antenna

Termite’s antennae are straight or slightly curved but never bent like an elbow. Ants have antennas that look like they are bent in the shape of an elbow.

2. Body

Termites eat on the wood in your home and property. Ants are thinner in their middle section.

3. Fecal Matter

Termite waste or drippings look like bits of sawdust looking stuff left behind on your floors or windowsills. Ants don’t feed on wood, unlike termites, so they do not leave fecal matter.

4. Wings

Termites have four paddle wings that are each the same length, longer than the body and break off easily. Ants also have four wings which are pointed, two of which are long, two are short, and veining is visible throughout the wings. The main difference is that termite wings are relatively equal in size. Ant wings tend to be longer in front and shorter in back.

5. Waists

Ants have a segmented Body (3 segments) and a slender pinched waist. Termites have two segments and one width through their body with a broad waist.

6. Appearances

Typically termites are black or dark brown in appearance. Ants can be black, red or brown. Ants have two pairs of brown-tinted wings that

7. Habitat

Termites can be found in lumber, wood debris, decaying trees, and stumps. Termites can cause severe structural damage since they eat through wood. Carpenter ants inhabit wood structures. Ants typically do not cause much structural damage because they do not eat wood.

8. Diet

Termites eat material found in plants which is called cellulose. Termites also devour wood and paper.

Ants are considered omnivores (eat plant and animal origin) and primarily eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris found around and inside homes.

9. Reproductive

Termites go through the life cycle of an egg, nymph (larvae), and adult phases and survive for a couple of years. The Queen termite can live for decades. After mating, both the female and male termite partners live on and continue to expand their new colonies.

Ants go through the life cycle of an egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Queen ants live for years. Worker ants live for a few months. The male ant partners typically die after mating with the females.

If you start to see flying insects and aren’t sure if they are termites or flying ants, call in the pest control experts to make sure they don’t multiple and cause significant damage.

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