What is the difference between ants and termites?
For many homeowners, the first sign of a termite infestations is a swarm of flying insects. However, not all swarming insects are termites -- some are flying ants. Both of the insects can be found in Southern Utah, so it is important to know the difference. In fact, there have been recent reports of swarms of flying insects that look like termites in Cedar City. Ants and termites vary in many ways, it can be hard for people to distinguish between them at first glance. In order to identify either flying ants or flying termites, it is vital to know the differences between them.
Flying Termites have:
- Straight antennae
- Clear, equal length wings
- Long, connected abdomen
- Black or dark brown bodies
Flying ants have:
- Bent antennae
- Brown, unequal length wings
- Segmented abdomen
- Black, brown, or reddish bodies
Both ants and termites live in colonies. Termites can be found in decaying trees, stumps, wood debris, lumber, and the wooden parts of buildings. Some ants, such as carpenter ants, also inhabit wood and the wooden parts of homes. Because termites eat wood, they can cause serious structural damage. Carpenter Ants do not eat wood and thus they generally do not cause damage to homes or buildings.
The diets of these two pest differ. Ants are omnivores and termites feed on cellulose (which is found in wood and other plants). Ants primarily eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food crumbs left around homes. Termites mainly consume wood, paper, and other cellulose-based products.
Life Cycle Differences
Ants go through four stages of development: egg larva, pupa, and adult. Worker ants live for a couple of months and their queens can live for years. A termite lift cycle includes egg, larvae, and adult phases. Most termites can live for a couple of years and their queen can live for decades. During warm months, both pests fly from their nests to establish new colonies. They will swarm around each other, mate, and the female will nest near by. This is why swarming is a good indicator of an infestation.
Why should you be worried?
Termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage each year and most insurance plans don't cover the damage. If you are worried that you have an infestation, please give us a call and we are more than happy to help you protect your home and family from these pests.