Spring is right around the corner. This Sunday we move the clocks forward an hour to regain that extra hour of sunlight in the evening. Longer, sunnier days with intermittent rain will cause the flowers to bloom, the bees to pollinate, and a host of other insects awaken and head out to start their reproductive cycles.
For almost all species of ants and subterranean termites this means they will be swarming. Usually this will occur right after a rain and when the weather is warmer. This means in early spring you will start to see these flying ants and termites coming out of the ground in large numbers. Sometimes they wind up inside your home or business. This is usually when we start getting phone calls. Often there can be thousands of these swarming, flying critters.
These winged ants and termites are the reproductive insects of both the termites and ants. They swarm to find a mate and then head off to start their own new colony. After mating and finding their new home both termites and ants will break off their wings.
How do you know which one you’re dealing with though? There are a few simple ways to determine if your problem is flying ants or swarming termites. First, take a look at the antenna. Is it straight or does it bend with an elbow in it. If it has an elbow bend in it then it’s going to be an ant. Next, take a look at the wings. Termites will have two sets of wings that are equal in length. Ants will have two sets of wings but they are different lengths with the back set about half the length of the front set. Ants also have a very slim waist that separates the abdomen and thorax. The termite will have a broad waist. In fact they are almost the same width from head to the end of the abdomen.
Knowledge of these differences should help you in determining what course of action you should take. Termite swarmers in or around the outside of your home would indicate active termites at that location. If your home is already under termite protection with another company then you should notify them of what you are seeing so they can address it. If you don’t have any termite control in place then you should consider reaching out to a professional who can address the active termites as well as provide future prevention. After all, your home is probably your biggest financial investment and it should be protected.