The Differences Between Termites and Ants

Termites and winged ants are both classified as alates when they reach their adult stages.  Proper cues in the surrounding environment, such as low winds, warm temperature, and bright sunlight, let the ants and termites know that it’s flight season. Alates are swarmers. When the time is right, they fly away and leave their colonies to start colonies of their own. This event is also known as the nuptial flight, the exodus, or the dispersal.

You should know how to distinguish between them when they hover over your property. If the ones swarming in your home are ants, they are just classified as nuisances. If they happen to be termites, they can cause severe destruction.

Difference in Exodus

When termites disperse from their colonies, the females and males shed their wings the moment they find the right mate. Then, they will find a perfect piece of damp soil or wood and mate there. In flying ants, swarming or the exodus does not happen until the females are inseminated before they leave the colony. The males die and the females are left with the task of finding the right place to nest.

Difference in Physical Traits

Flying ants have what are described as “elbowed antennae”. The forewings are found to be larger than the hind wings. Their waist is constricted. On the other hand, termites have antennae that appear to be beaded. They have equal sized forewings and hind wings. Their waist is broad.

Flying ants have four wings that point away slightly from the body towards the bottom. Their wings also pass their body slightly. Termites are known to have separate, distinct body segments. They look like tiny snowmen, with two body segments that are equidistant from one another. Termite wings are straight. They come in fours and are parallel to their body.

Differences when Wingless

Worker ants and termites have no wings. Worker termites are light-colored, soft-bodied, and not often seen out of their nests. Worker termites are commonly seen in and out of your home. They have a hard, dark-colored shell.  These termites cannot expose themselves out of the nest all the time because they will just dry out and die off.  Termites generally look like maggots with leg attachments.

Other Distinct Traits

  • Termites are creamy white and transparent while ants are dark or reddish.
  • Termites are rarely seen in the open while ants are frequently outside of their nests, foraging.
  • Termites eat wood. Ants, like the carpenter ants, use wood as their nest.
  • Termite galleries and nests are rugged and rough, whereas those of the carpenter ants are finished and smooth.
  • Termites chew into new wood, while carpenter ants look for damaged and moist wood to excavate.
  • Termites always have mud tubes between the wood and the soil. The tubes are the areas through which termites travel.

College Station TX have well-trained and well-educated pest control professionals, who know what they’re doing in termite and ant control. If you suspect your home or business is infested with termites or carpenter ants, it is best to call the experts.  It is recommended that you collect a sample of the swarmer insect you have and present it to the College Station TX pest control expert in your area. Once proper identification is made, proper ant or termite treatment can be provided.

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