How To Tell Winged Termites From Flying Ants

Charlotte termite control and identification.Winged termites, or perhaps winged ants, swarm a stump in the back yard of your North Carolina home. The stump is eighty feet from the rear of your house. Should you be worried about a termite problem in your home? That Catch-22 question demands you consider the damage that can be caused by a home termite invasion.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, property owners expend billions of dollars yearly on repair of termite-related home structural damage. Furthermore, homeowners put out two billion plus in treatment of home termite invasions.

In this article, the pest control techs at Carolina Pest Management share the low-down on winged termites, flying ants, and the importance of knowing the difference between the two.

Difference Between Flying Ants and Winged Termites

At certain times in the year, swarms of winged adult termites emerge from underground termite colonies. Their goal: establish new colonies.

Is the presence of outdoor winged termites evidence of a Carolina home termite problem?

According to a N.C. State University article on residential, structural and community pests:

  • If most of the winged termites are spotted outdoors, the associated nest is also likely outdoors.
  • If most of the winged termites appear indoors, your Charlotte regional home may well have an inside termite infestation.

Is the University declaring it safe to ignore nearby outdoor termite colonies?

Definitely not. What is seen above ground may represent only one of many colonies. Consider the following facts:

  • “Swarmers” exist for the purpose of starting new termite colonies.
  • Shortly after swarming begins, the wings break off. The termite then seeks security within voids in walls, soil, or other hidden areas.
  • That perfect “hidden area” may become your “personal” Carolina home termite problem.
  • Termite colonies feed year-round.
  • Termite-related home damage may go on for years before noticeable by the homeowner.

Flying ants vs winged termites in North Carolina.Do some flying winged ants resemble winged-swarming termites?

Yes. Both flying winged ants and winged-swarming termites can look similar, especially if you haven’t dealt with the pests before. We often see this as a point of confusion in the North Carolina area, with homeowners being unsure of whether they have witnessed flying ants or termites on their property.

How do I tell the difference between winged ants and winged termites?

Examine the following signs of termites:

  • Biting: Carpenter ants, the typical flying ant, can and sometimes do bite humans. Solider termites, although capable of biting humans, rarely bother.
  • Wing Formation: Although both flying ants and winged termites both sport four wings, the ant’s front wings are noticeably larger than the ant’s rear wings. Termite wings are uniform in size.
  • Wing to Body Comparison: The wings on flying ants are typically proportionate to their body size. Termite wings run twice as long as the body of the insect.
  • Antennae Formation: On the ant, look for an elbowed antennae. On the winged termite, look for near straight antennas.
  • Body Formation: Termite body thickness tends to be uniform for the entire body-width. A thin waist gives a distinct segmented formation to the body of the ant.

The accompanying video from the North Carolina Pest Management Association serves as an excellent primer on how to tell the difference between flying ants and termites.

Structural Pest Control – Getting Help with Your Carolina Home Termite Problem

If you still have questions, concerns or worries – a reasonable thing since you are most likely not trained and experienced in telling the difference between flying ants and termites – the pros at Carolina Pest are here to help you decide whether you need ant control or termite control. Carolina Pest Management is licensed, insured and bonded to provide solutions to local pest infestations. For an immediate response to any suspected Carolina home termite problem, contact the office nearest to your Carolina home.


By Carolina Pest

Carolina Pest Management has been handling the pest control needs of residents in Charlotte and its surrounding areas since 1939. We are one of the oldest and most experienced pest control companies in Charlotte. For four generations, our family-owned business has seen many changes in pest control, and we have been part of the effort to...