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The Differences Between Ants and Termites

Mar 18, 2019 | EcoArmor

With spring in the air, it is common to notice a major increase in insect activity. Two of the most common types of spring pests are termites and ants. While you likely don’t want either of them hanging around your house, it important to know which one you are dealing with so you can effectively get rid of them.

Termites and ants often look a lot alike, especially the winged reproductives, known as alates. During the spring, these reproductive termites and ants will fly away from the nest in search of a mate. Once they have found a mate, they will start their own nests. Sometimes, these swarms are the only times you may see termites, so it is critical to be able to identify them and know what precautions to take.

Flying Termite Characteristics

Termites vary in size, depending on the species, but they average about ½ an inch in length. They have short legs, straight antennae, and a thick waist. The waist shape is a key factor in determining whether you are seeing an ant or a termite, as ants have a constricted or pinched waist. Another distinguishing factor is the length of the wings. Only the reproductive termites have wings, and after they have found a place to build a colony, they will twist them off and discard them. Termites have 2 pairs of wings that are nearly the same length. Color varies by species, but most termite alates are black or brown in color.



Flying termite by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa [CC BY 2.0 (]


Flying Ant Characteristics

Flying ants can be easily confused for termites, but there are a few important differences. The antennae of ants are bent (have elbows), and ants have longer legs. As already mentioned, ants are known for their very small, pinched waists that drastically come in from the rest of their body. Ant alates also have two pairs of wings, but the front wings will be noticeably larger and longer than the back ones. Species of ants vary greatly in color, from black and brown to yellow and red.



Flying ant by Museum für Naturkunde Berlin [CC0]


Both termites and ants can be extremely frustrating to deal with, so early intervention is key. If you see swarms around your house, take a close look and try to identify what pest you are dealing with. If you aren’t sure, a knowledgeable pest control specialist can help identify, prevent, and control whatever pest is bugging you. If you need pest control in Anna, TX and the surrounding area, EcoArmor Pest Control is your best bet. Contact us today and say goodbye to unwanted pests!

“Jordan is a consummate professional. We had gone to Florida for an extended weekend and had some ant setup residency while we were gone. Jordan was out the following Thursday morning and by the time I had gotten home from work, the ants had been evicted. Extremely satisfied with my results! Ask for Jordan.”

Weldon H.