Differences Between Winged Termite Alates and Flying Ants

Winged termite alates and flying ants are different types of insects with wings, but they play very different roles in their colonies. Winged termites and flying ants also behave very differently when they take to the skies, which makes them so unique. Read on to learn more about these fascinating creatures

Differences Between Ants and Termites

The first obvious sign of termite infestation is a swarm of flying insects. However, not all swarming insects are termites – some are ants! Pest control experts will know how to tell them apart based on certain physical characteristics like size and shape and their behavior.

What are the Differences?

Physical Differences

Winged termites usually have a wingspan of 3-4 inches, which is about the size of their bodies. They are also characterized by two hard shell-like wings that are not membranous like the other two soft and thin wings. Winged termites take flight when heavy rain forces them out of their nests in soil or when they are overcrowded in the nest.

Flying ants have only six wings instead of four because they are wingless at birth. The workers are wingless, but the swarmers will develop their wings after mating to produce new queens and males for future swarms. After fertilization, a new queen ant will fly away to start a new colony.

Termites have straight antennae, equal-length wings, and a straight waist, while flying ants have a bent antenna, unequal-length wings, and pinched waist.

Winged Termites are usually black, robust, and have a large head, while the flying ants are usually brown or orange, have a smaller head, and have wings. Winged termites are much smaller than flying ants. It is important to distinguish them because they can cause damage to your property if not dealt with appropriately.

Behavior Differences

Winged termites and flying ants are very similar in their behavior. These insects exist in colonies, have a queen, have a variety of jobs, and help provide food for the colony. The difference is that the winged termite’s wings are not used for flying but rather to glide from one spot to another. In addition, they do not live above ground as the flying ant does, and they live in soil near logs or close to streams

Diet Differences

Winged termites and flying ants are closely related, but they have two very different diets. Ants are omnivores, and termites feed on cellulose, which is a nutrient-rich material found in plants. Ants primarily eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris found around and inside homes. On the other hand, termites mainly eat on wood and other cellulose-based products. This means that flying ants are more likely to be found on flowers and vegetables than termites, who would rather stay on the ground.

Life Cycle Difference

The life cycle of an ant is similar to that of a termite. Winged ants and winged termites go through four stages: The egg, larvae (larva), pupa (imago), and adult phases. A female ant or termite is called a queen, and colonies normally have only one queen. She has wings when she leaves the nest to mate but will shed these soon after mating.

After mating, the male dies, and the new queen finds an area of the earth that she excavates, creating a chamber for her first brood. Here she will lay her eggs and raise her young, feeding them by laying down a trail of pheromones (a chemical produced in the body) which tells other ants what to do. Thus, her first brood will become workers for the colony.

Ants and Termite Treatment

Ants and Termites are two of the most common species that can be found in our homes. They may look similar, but they have very different needs when it comes to treatment. Ants need a simple insecticide that is applied both outside and inside the infested areas. Termites, on the other hand, need a heavy-duty approach which includes using soil termiticides or fumigation

Though ants usually don’t need much attention, termites are a different story. When you suspect that there may be an infestation of termites in your home, it is highly recommended to immediately contact a professional exterminator. If left neglected, the amount of damage they can cause will only increase. These small insects can eat through wood, drywall, carpeting, and even plastic pipes.

And while there are many products on the market today that are marketed as termite treatments, only one will work because it is designed for this specific task. Termite infestations should be dealt with immediately to prevent them from spreading to other areas in your home.

To prevent termites from entering your home, make sure to check the foundation around the perimeter of your house. If you notice any cracks or holes in the structure, ask an expert to close them up with a long-lasting solution. Also, inspect the wood that is attached to your home. If you see any signs of termites (swarmers/small holes) treat immediately with professional treatment.

Prevention is always better than treatment. If you avoid bringing firewood indoors, you will limit the ability of termites to enter your home. You should also keep all mulch at least three inches away from the foundation of your house and do not plant any new vegetation close by. And finally, if you live in a humid area and notice any signs of mold, it would be wise to contact a professional right away. Mold can often signal to termites that the wood is damp and cause them to swarm.

If you suspect an infestation of ants in your home, there are several things you can do yourself. Ants will eat almost anything, so you should eliminate all food sources from your home. This will force the ants to leave and look for food elsewhere. You can then choose an easy-to-use insecticide that comes in powder form (usually with boric acid), which you sprinkle around.

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