Ant infestations in the home can be quite an annoying prospect. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning to find a line of ants leading from the kitchen to a crack in the wall or outside your home. They’re typically not too difficult to take care of, though some species — such as carpenter ants — can damage your home.
What concerns many homeowners, though, is when they catch a glimpse of what appears to be a flying ant. Some people will immediately believe that these insects must be termites, because surely, there isn’t such a thing as a flying ant. Or is there?
Flying ants are real, but not their own species
One important fact to remember is that the term “flying ants” does not refer to a specific species. Nowhere in this world are there colonies entirely made up of winged ants. So what are these flying ants that you see from time to time? They are simply a life cycle that some ants go through for the purposes of mating, and can be either male or female.
The dangers of finding a flying ant in your home
Whether or not a flying ant indicates a larger problem that you should immediately tackle can depend on when you see them. During the summer, a flying ant or two may be blown into your house by the wind. The colony that it belongs to might be a good distance away. If you spot one inside your home during the winter, however, this can mean that it came from a colony within the house, which points to the possibility of carpenter ants. If this is the case, it is important that you act quickly in order to quell any ant infestations in the home.
Flying ants vs. termites
Like ants, termites live in a kind of colony, and within this colony, there are flying versions as well. This makes it essential for a homeowner to learn the visual differences between a winged ant and a winged termite. If you simply choose to ignore the flying ant and it turns out to be a termite, you may find yourself looking at costly repairs that you might have avoided.
Telling them apart is quite simple. First, take a look at the body itself. Ants have small “waists,” whereas termites have a thicker body. Second, pay attention to the antennae. An ant will have bent antennae, while a termite’s will be straight. And finally, the wings. The wings of an ant are different sizes between the front and rear wings. A termite’s wings will be the same size. Knowing these differences will help you prevent both termite and ant infestations in the home.
Photo Credit: Flying Ant