What Do Flying Termites Look Like?

Spotting a swarm of flying insects could be flying termites and is an immediate red flag for most homeowners, so you’re probably already on alert if you’re reading this article. Most of us know that a swarm in the air is the first sign of a serious termite infestation.

However, not all swarming insects are termites. You could also be looking at flying ants. Read on to learn how to identify the insects you’re seeing as either ants or termites.

The upper graphic shows a termite swarmer and the lower depicts a flying ant.

Unique Flying Termite Features

If you’re dealing with termite swarmers, you should be able to take note of a few features that are unique to flying termites. For example:

  • Termites have straight waists with little to no tapering between the thorax and abdomen.
  • Termites have straight antennae.
  • A termite has two wings on each side of its body, and each wing is equal in length.
  • Termite bodies appear soft compared to other hard-shelled insects.
  • Termites lose their wings, so you might see dropped wings around your home. This is especially true between March and November. Though termites are active throughout the entire year, the most appropriate definition of “termite season” takes place between spring and late fall.

If you notice damage to any of the wood surfaces in or around your home in addition to the above-mentioned features on the insects, you’re dealing with termites. Another tale-tell sign of termite infestation is sudden mud spots in your home or tunnels that appear under the surfaces of wood structures.

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Flying Ant Features vs. Flying Termites

Let’s say you have not been able to identify termite features in the swarm of insects near your home. You might then be looking at flying ants. If this is the case, you should notice the following features.

  • Flying ants have tapered waists with a clear separation between the thorax and abdomen.
  • Flying ants have curved antennae.
  • A flying ant also has two wings on either side of its body, but the front wings are going to be quite a bit larger than the back wings.
  • Flying ants have hard outer shells, similar to the armored appearance of non-flying ants.
  • Female flying ants lose their wings after mating while male flying ants die. However, you likely won’t find an abundance of flying ant wings laying around.

If these features are a little closer to what you’re seeing in the swarm, you have flying ants nearby. On one hand, this means that you’re safe from having your wood structures eaten through, but on the other hand, flying ants do burrow into wood surfaces to nest.

Whether you’re dealing with one of the many types of termites, flying termite swarms, or flying ants, it’s a good idea to have the issue dealt with before it becomes serious. Contacting a termite exterminator is your best bet if you want to get rid of pest swarms before they make their way into your home. Reach out to Massey Services as soon as you can to schedule a visit from an experienced pest exterminator.