Ants or Termites? You Decide!
Have you seen some insects around your home and are not sure if they are termites? Many people mistake ants for termites and vice versa. They are similar, but do have enough differences to make them easily distinguishable from one another.
Both termites and ants have the same basic body structure. Both have a head, thorax, abdomen, and six legs and live in large colonies. When the weather begins to warm, both produce winged reproductive males and females to begin new colonies. Termites and ants have a worker caste and soldiers to defend the colony.
Although ants and termites do have some similarities, there is one telltale sign to differentiate the two, waist size. Termites have a straight body, or thick waist, whereas an ant has a thin, or pinched, waist. Termites appear to have one long body segment, while ants look like they have separate segments. Both have antennae, but a termite’s is small and straight and an ant’s is longer and angled. Termites and flying ants have two sets of wings, however for a termite both sets of wings are the same size. For an ant, the rear pair of wings will be smaller than the front pair. Many ants, such as carpenter ants, can swarm at any time of the year, but termites generally swarm only in the spring. Most termites are brownish in color, while ants come in a variety of colors such as black, red, or brown.
An important distinction between termites and ants is that for a termite wood is food, and for an ant wood is used as a home. Ants often bore holes in the wood to build nest and have their young. Getting rid of termites and ants requires specialized, but different equipment to deliver the right kind of treatment. Here are some signs all homeowners should look for when trying to determine if they have termites in their home. Look for mud tubes at least ¼ inch or wider either inside or outside the home. Also, termites eat wood from the inside out, so damaged wood can be difficult to spot. Hollow sounding wood, however, can be a good indicator of termite damage.
Even if you are sure you have identified the insects near your home as flying ants, it is still best to call a professional to take a look. Your home may depend on it. Termites can cause extensive damage, even before it becomes obvious that a home is infested. Don’t take the chance, call a professional today to positively ID the pests and create the best treatment plan for your home and family. Your home is your most important investment; let us help you to protect it.