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The Differences Between Swarming Termites & Flying/Winged Ants

Termites have the potential to cause significant damage to homes in North Carolina. In addition to termites, winged, flying ants also live in the state. Termites and winged ants look similar, making it important for residents to know the difference. If you are uncertain about whether the bugs that you see are termites or winged ants, here are some ways that you can tell the difference.Winged termite

Wing Differences

Some species of winged ants look similar to winged termites that swarm. Both the flying ants and the winged termites have four wings in pairs of two. The ants' wings are different, however. If you look at a flying winged ant, you'll notice that the ants have front wings that are much larger than the wings in the rear. By contrast, the termite wings are uniform in length in the front and the back.

The wings of a termite are approximately twice as long as its body. Flying ants have wings that are shorter and more proportionate to their body sizes. If you can, catch one of the bugs so that you can inspect it. You might also want to save it in a jar to show to one of the professionals at State Pest Control.


After you have looked at the wings of the insect, you can also take a look at its antennae. The antennae on winged, swarming termites are almost straight. Flying ants have antennae that are bent with a tiny joint that almost looks like an elbow.

Body Differences

If you look closely at a flying ant, you'll see that it has a very slender waist, giving the insect a distinctly segmented appearance. Termites have thicker midsections with bodies that are of more uniform thickness.

Swarming Patterns

Subterranean termites emerge in the spring or early summer to swarm. Drywood termites tend to swarm in the later part of the summer into the early fall. Flying ants swarm at different times during the year, depending on their species.

Importance of Correctly Identifying Flying Insects

Termites feed on wood, and they can quickly cause substantial damage to your home. While you might think of flying ants as simply a nuisance, some species of flying ants may also cause damage to your home. For example, carpenter ants are a flying ant species that burrow into wooden structures to build nests and cause damage as a result.

Ants and termites also require different pest control techniques to eradicate them and to keep them from returning. The professionals at State Pest Control can help you to identify the flying insect species that you have and recommend the best way to eliminate them.

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