Are they ants with wings or termites?
We are getting this question several times a day right now, both the Raleigh area and the Fayetteville area are full of termite swarmers, so I thought I would put up another post on this topic. I have included a picture to compare Termite swarmers to ants, that is a little easier to understand and makes a really good comparison. There are actually several ways to tell the difference between the two but most of them require getting closer than the average homeowner wants to get. So here are a few very simple ways to distinguish the two, and have a little bit of info before you call a professional.
- Both termites and ants can have wings, the difference here is in the size of the wings. The wings of a termite are all the same size and are often found detached near a window or door because termite swarmers are attracted to light and will usually detach their wings when they stop flying. Ants on the other hand will usually have different sized wings. They will also sometimes detach their wings. So if you find insect wings on a window sill and they are different sizes they are probably ants. If they are all the same size the chances are they are termites.
- Ants clearly have three body segments, you don't have to get too close to tell this. If the insect has a thin waste line and you can clearly see three segments (including the head), it is an ant. If on the other hand it seems like the insect doesn't have a waste and its entire body is similar to the width of it's head then there is a good chance you have termites.
- The antenna is another good way to tell the difference between ants and termites. The antenna of an ant are elbowed, you will clearly see a bend in the antenna. The antenna of a termite are almost straight, they may curve a little but there will be no actual bend in a termites antenna.
Termites are likely to swarm during the day usually mid morning. Ordinarily on a day that is some what warm in the morning hours and after there has been some rain. However we have seen swarms in the middle of winter on cold days and at night. The best thing for a home owner to do after a swarm is to try and save a couple samples in a plastic bag for positive identification of the termites and then call a professional.
If they are extremely bad and it seems like hundreds are coming out of the exit holes you can use any household bug spray or cleaner to kill the swarmers. If you see the specific hole they are coming out of, you can even use masking tape to block the hole. If the swarmers can't escape they will be consumed by the colony. Go ahead and vaccum them up and don't worry the termite swarmers do not bite and they are not dangerous. When trying to find the exit hole it will typically look like a small nail hole. It may be hidden behind a window sill or a door jam. Almost any company will come out to your home and identify them for free and give you a free estimate for a termite treatment. Many will also give you a free termite inspection.
Don't WORRY, just because you have termite swarmers does not mean your house is gonna fall down around you next month. Regardless of what anyone tells you, there is time to get more than one estimate. Doing so can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars. When you do get your home treated make sure it is with a reputable company that has been around for a while and most importantly make sure the contract you are getting will cover future DAMAGE if termites return while your contract is current.
A good source for information on local termite control companies is the Better Business Bureau or the State pest control association. Of course you really need to make sure the company is licensed and insured. In Fayetteville, N.C. I know for a fact that there are a few unlicensed companies currently marketing themselves as Pest Control companies. One way to know for sure is to call the North Carolina Structural Pest Control Division. They regulate our industry and act as consumer advocates to make sure Pest control companies follow the rules and regulations. You can give them the name and number of the company and they will be able to tell you if they are in fact licensed.
AAA Exterminating Co. Serves Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Garner, Apex, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina and all surrounding areas.
If you have this problem just give us a call or fill out one of our forms and we will be glad to come to your home, Identify the insect, Give you a free termite inspection and a free estimate for termite control or termite prevention. We are a family owned and operated business that has protected North Carolina homes since 1973.