The Difference between Termites and Winged Ants

August 10th, 2017

At any point throughout the year, you may notice insects near your lights, doors, window sills, and along the baseboards in your home. These insects are winged ants, but many homeowners mistake them for termites. By recognizing each insect and distinguishing between ants and termites, you can better understand any potential pest threat on your property.

All About Alates

Winged ants and termites are both known as alates by entomologists. An alate is a sexually mature adult ant or termite. Alates grow and develop as the flight season approaches, then receive cues like warm temperatures, bright sunlight, and low winds. Upon these cues, alates leave their colonies and fly away to grow their own new colonies. Male and female termites accomplish this by shedding their wings, finding a mate, and settling in a damp piece of wood or soil. Ants accomplish this swarming process differently. After leaving the nest, the female is inseminated, causing the male to die. The female ants search for their new nesting sites and may settle near your lights, doors, window sills, and baseboards.

The Difference Between Ant Alates and Termite Alates

Ant alates and termite alates have a few distinguishing features that can help you determine whether ants or termites have infested your home. Ant alates have elbowed antennae that bend at a near 90 degree angle. They also have fore wings that are larger than their hind wings. Finally, ants have two or three segments along their bodies, marked by a very narrow waistline. This differs from termites, which have beaded antennae, equally-sized fore and hind wings, and a broad and solid body structure.  

Whether you have winged ants, termites, or any other infestation problem in your home, it’s important to contact an experienced and environmentally responsible pest control company like Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control. Green Solutions serves the Tampa Bay area with the best family-friendly pest control services, so call (813) 684-7336 today to learn more.