Many people are frightened whenever they notice what appear to be winged ants in or around their home. That's because they are unsure whether or not these insects are actually a termites, and are afraid their home may be infested. These two bugs are similar in appearance, yet each one has some distinct features that help them be easily identified.

Termites have short straight antennas, while flying ants have longer ones that are bent at an angle. Termite antennae sometimes look like a string of beads whenever they are examined up close. The body of a termite is oblong and narrow, and appears to be one solid mass. On the other hand, flying ants have three distinct sections to their body characterized by a somewhat smaller head and thorax (midsection) and a slightly larger abdomen. Both insects have two sets of clear wings. Termite wings are long, narrow and evenly proportioned, with the top set of wings being precisely the same size as the bottom pair are. Flying ant wings are more curved than those of termites, with the upper set of wings being larger than their lower ones are. Aside from examining the insects themselves, there are other ways to determine whether the swarms you see are actually ants or termites. If you are infested with termites, you may notice things such as:

  • Piles of wings lying on the floor
  • Presence of what appears to be sawdust lying on your floor
  • Mud tubes or tunnels located on the foundation of your home

Ants and termites both develop wings during their reproductive stages. During this time, they are referred to as alates, and generally begin to swarm as part of the mating process. Termites that are not involved in this process are larvae-like creatures that somewhat resemble maggots. The presence of these insects outside along with swarmed ant-like pests inside could also be evidence of a termite infestation. Whether your home has flying ants or termites, you'll need a West Palm Beach exterminator to help you get rid of them. Contact us to schedule an on-site visit so that we can help you determine your exact pest control needs.