Oftentimes, the first sign that there is a termite infestation in someone’s home is the presence of swarmers. Swarmers are winged termites, which are the reproductive caste of the colony tasked with creating new nests. However, not all winged termite-like insects are the same. Ants will also use swarmers to spread their colonies, and being able to tell the difference between the two can save you a lot of headache. Here are several characteristics that will help you tell the two species apart.
The differences between termite and ant swarmers
These two types of swarmers are surprisingly easy to tell apart. Let’s take a look at ant swarmers first. Ant swarmers will have bent antennae, and pinched waists. Their two pairs of wings will also be of unequal length, with the front wings being longer than the back wings. In contrast, termite swarmers will have straight antennae and straight waits. Their wings will also be of equal length. There are also differences in coloration, with the termites being generally black or dark brown, while the ants can be black, brown or reddish, and their wings will be brown-tinted.
Differences in behavior
Termites and ants are very different species when it comes to their diet and overall behavior during an infestation, unless we are talking about carpenter ants. While both species will live in colonies that have very similar structures, termites are far more destructive than regular ants. Carpenter ants on the other hand can be just as destructive as termites, since they will also infest and destroy the wood inside of a building.
Differences in diet
Termites will always seek out cellulose (which is found in wood) as their main means of sustenance, while ants will go for protein, carbohydrates, sugars and fats. This is why you see ants in your kitchen picking up crumbs. Even carpenter ants, which will make their home inside the wood of the home, will feed on protein and carbohydrates that are found outside of their colony.
The importance of telling the two apart
Knowing if you have ant or termite swarmers in your home can help you prevent a lot of damage. While ant swarmers are not a cause for major concern (unless they are carpenter ants), termite swarmers should always ring off your alarm bells. The presence of these swarmers inside the building means that there is a colony inside already, or that the termites are looking to set up on your property. Contact us right away if you notice termite swarmers inside your home.