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Flying Ant or Swarming Termite?

There are many types of flying insects who may try to make their way onto your property or even into your house during the spring months. Two of the more troublesome species are carpenter ants and termites. One of the biggest problems associated with these two species is the difficulty in identifying them when they are swarming. Although similar in appearance, there are ways to distinguish one from the other, both in appearance and the type of havoc they can wreak on your home and property. There are also different methods to dealing with these pests, which makes proper identification all that more important.

First of all it is important to realize that although the behavior may appear the same, there are many differences between termites and ants. Most termite species live underground and will form tunnels in the mud and soil around your home as a means of traveling. The worker termites will feed on the wood in your house and on your property, which can lead to extensive structural damage if left untreated. Signs of termite infestations include:

  • Squishy floors and ceilings

  • Small holes in wood

  • Buckling wood

When you spot a flying termite, these are the reproductive termites that are searching for new areas to form colonies. It is these flying termites, or swarmers that are most often confused with flying ants.

Flying ants have similar habits to the swarming termites as they are also the reproductives looking to form new colonies. But the worker ants are different from the worker termites because the ants do not cause the same physical property damage, aside from the carpenter ant species. Carpenter ants do not eat wood like termites, but they do carve holes in wood to nest, which will still result in structural damages. So the question then becomes: which one of these flying insects do you have buzzing around your yard? Below are a few distinctive traits you can use to identify whether you have ants or termites.


  • Around 1/8 of an inch long

  • Grey or creamy white in color

  • Broad body, with an upper and lower section

  • Straight, beaded antennae

  • Two sets of wings, both equal in length

Flying Ants

  • Slightly longer, from 1/8 to 1/2 an inch

  • Black, brown, red, or a combination of each in color

  • Three body segments with a pinched waistline resembling an hourglass

  • Antennae with a distinctive bend in it

  • Two sets of wings, with one set noticeably shorter

If you are living in St. Louis or Mid Missouri and you are suffering from flying insects on your property then it is important to contact the experts in pest control at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions. With effective termite and ant solutions tailored to your home or business, you can be sure that your current pest problem will be taken care of as well as future problems. For more information on any of our pest control in St. Louis or throughout Mid Missouri, contact our MO pest control pros today!

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