Termites and Ants: How to Tell the Difference

Termite swarm season is starting next month, and that means it’s time to start preparing. One of the most difficult parts of pest control is figuring out exactly which pesky critter you’re dealing with. One of the hardest parts of termite control, is that people often confuse winged termites and winged ants. Ant swam season generally starts closer to the beginning of summer, not spring, but the two seasons do overlap. And while most ants do swarm in the summer, depending on the exact species of ant, they can swarm anytime from spring to fall. Because of this, if you see small, winged insects in your home, it can be hard to tell what kind of pest you’re dealing with and how to move forward. We want to help you identify some of the main differences between ants and termites so that you can tell the difference between the two.  Hopefully, you’ll never have to use this information. But just in case, here are the main differences between termites and ants:

Wings

  • Termite: both ants and termites have two sets of two wings. However, termite’s wings are identical—all four wings are exactly the same shape and length. They are also much longer than the termite’s body. In fact, termite wings are often twice as long as the termite body. If you do have a termite infestation, you will often find discarded termite wings in places like window sills or doorways. The wings have a silvery sheen to them and may look similar to fish scales.
  • Ant: like termites, ants have four wings. However, ant wings are distinctly different sizes; the two front wings are much larger than the two back wings. Ant wings are much shorter than termite wings. They are generally about the same length as the ant’s body.

Antennae

  • Termite: termite antennae are straight and point directly in front of them. Termites also have beaded antennae, which means the antennae are not long and smooth, but made up of many individual joins put together—like beads strung in a row. This, however, may be difficult to identify unless you are looking very closely and are somewhat familiar with insects. So don’t worry if you don’t see this difference easily.
  • Ant: ants have bent antennae. They almost look like an arm that is bent into a 90-degree angle at the elbow. The antennae attach to the sides of the ant’s heads and then stick out sideways. About halfway down the antennae, they bend forward, in the direction the ant’s head is facing.

Body

  • Termite: termites are about the same width from their head all the way down to their body. It is very difficult to identify their waist because it is very thick and does not appear different from any other section of their body. A termite’s body might look more like a rectangle than any other shape.
  • Ant: in contrast to the termite, ants have very thin waists. You can see the distinct separation of the segments of their body. While termites appear to be straight or rectangular, ants appear to have more of an hourglass shape.

No matter which of these pests you’re dealing with, we know they can be extremely difficult to control. Completely exterminating ants and termites is difficult enough, but making sure they never come back is definitely a job for the professionals. Both ants and termites are resilient little pests who live in huge colonies and are notoriously difficult to kill. That’s why termite and ant control requires a plan crafted by the experts and tailored specifically to your home and the type of pest attacking it. We can create a comprehensive plan to attack the entire ant colony, not just the ones you see. We are also Certified Sentricon® System Specialists. The Sentricon® System is scientifically proven to be the most effective way to eliminate entire termite colonies and prevent any other colonies from taking up residence on your property in the future.

If you want to give your home the best level of termite and ant protection available, call the experts at Arrow Exterminators. We offer pest control services to communities across Oklahoma including Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Edmond, Grove, Kingfisher, Moore, Muskogee, Mustang, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Tulsa, Vinita, Wagoner and Yukon. You can schedule a free, no-obligation evaluation on our website or give us a call. You can also reach out to us on social media for information about ants, termites and The Sentricon® System. We are on Facebook and Google+.

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