Flying Ant vs Termite: How to Tell the Difference in West Palm Beach, FL
March 15, 2022
Swarming insects can be scary. Seeing them scurry anywhere in or near your home can be unsettling, and a termite swarm is nothing to laugh at. Many questions can cross your mind:
- What are they?
- What do they do?
- Are they dangerous?
- How do I get rid of them?
A swarm of flying insects can instill a greater level of terror. The creepy crawlers seemed to be manageable on the ground. If they’re in the sky, how can you stop them?
Fortunately, flying insects like ants and termites have to eventually land. They can be controlled like any other insect. However, it’s important to determine which ones are ants and which ones are termites so you can determine the best course of action.
Some flying ants are harmless, but can certainly be pesky. Termites, however, always pose a serious risk to your property.
If you know the difference between flying ants and termites, then you can begin an action plan to get rid of them and keep them gone.
Flying ants are ants with wings. They fly to different locations to set up new colonies. The most common type is the black garden ant although more destructive species like carpenter ants can also take to the skies. You can usually see a swarm of flying ants in the hot summer months. They are commonly dark brown, black, or red.
Winged ants have pinched waists that are narrow. Their thin waists are one of the easiest ways to differentiate them from termites. Another simple way is that ants have antennae that are bent at a 90-degree angle.
Carpenter ants are an ant species that are similar to termites. These pests can damage your house. They can take up residence in the wood of your house, destroying any wet and decaying wood as they nestle behind your walls. They typically leave behind fine sawdust from the wood they bite through when they build their nests.
As if their intent wasn’t worrying enough, carpenter ants can grow up to 5/8th of an inch long, making them the largest species of ants in the United States.
If you think your home has a carpenter ant infestation, you should get in touch with a pest control company as soon as possible.
While a carpenter ant colony may not pose a threat to the structure of your home, termites are another breed of pest altogether. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they come across. Termites do.
Termites eat wood, paper, and other cellulose-based products. Because they eat wood, your house might suffer structural damage as termites have been feeding on it for years. This is why you should always be mindful of signs of structural damage. Left untreated, termite damage can cause structural problems in your home.
Termite queens can live up to 50 years so they have more than enough time to fly around the area looking to set up their home in your West Palm Beach, FL home! If you find just one winged termite, you can probably expect a termite infestation has already invaded your house. Winged termites will only be produced after a colony has been present for at least three years.
Termites pose a serious problem to home and business owners:
- In the United States, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage each year.
- 80% of the damage is caused by subterranean termites.
- Dry wood termites make up the majority of the other 20%.
- Some termite species can eat up to 3 pounds of wood per day.
Termite colonies can be found in attics, windowsills, door frames, baseboards, wooden furniture, hardwood floors, and wooden studs inside walls. Swarmers are attracted to light so they can be found near light fixtures and windows.
They swarm year around in Florida, but primarily in spring and summer. Florida has the most termite species in the country so seeing them is an unfortunately common occurrence.
Termites have thick waists that are the same width as the rest of their bodies. As opposed to ant species, termites have straight antennae. Depending on their type, they are generally 1/8th to 3/8th inches long. Swarmers fly to mate and form new colonies. They are dark and between 1/4th to 3/8th inches long. Soldiers are pale yellow and approximately 1/8th of an inch long. Workers are cream-colored and also 1/8th of an inch long. Workers comprise 90 to 98% of a colony.
There are several types of termite species, each with its defining features. The two main types are subterranean and dry wood.
Subterranean termites can enter homes from the soil. They need soil to survive, They use mud to keep moist, leaving behind mud tubes as they move towards their food source, your house’s wood. They can get inside via cracks in concrete slabs and plumbing penetrations.
Unlike their subterranean counterparts, dry wood termites do not require soil moisture. They live directly where they eat, in the wood. Drywood termites are commonly identified by their fecal pellets. As dry wood termites consume dry wood, they push these pellets, or frass, out of the infested wood. Frass is smaller than rice grains and can be found in piles on floors, windowsills, and under furniture.
Termite control and prevention must be done as soon as possible – the earlier the better. Termite treatment should be an ongoing part of routine home maintenance. You can perform preventative methods yourself or hire a pest management company.
Some DIY termite prevention tips to implement include:
- Inspect often: Early detection is critical in stopping any significant property damage. You’ll want to search every place termites can be found like near light sources, attics, and crawl spaces.
Reduce access to food sources: Clear dead plants and trees that may be scattered around your home.
- Seal entry points: Plugging any gaps can limit how termites enter your house. Caulk off any spaces, especially around gas and water lines. You should also make sure any areas where wood meets soil around your home are cleared.
- Eliminate moisture: Termites need moisture to live. Getting rid of any water sources is essential. Examples include standing water and leaks. One way to get rid of moisture is to make sure that the sun hits the soil surrounding your house to dry it out.
- Diminish exterior lighting: Lights attract termites and other insects. Security lights that are yellow or purple can prove more beneficial than bright white ones.
If you find signs of termites during inspecting, then you should take swift action to eradicate the pests. A pest control company like Native Pest Management can use several methods to get rid of the problem:
- Chemical treatments: This technique involves placing poison around a home’s foundation, killing current termites, and preventing future infestations.
- Fumigation treatments: If you’ve ever seen a giant tent covering a house, then the home underwent this type of treatment. Toxic gasses are pumped inside the tent, killing nearly everything inside – including termites.
- Bait treatments: Stations containing poisoned bait are set up in the soil that surrounds affected structures. Termites take the bait and bring the poison back to their colonies.
- Heat tenting: This eco-friendly method forgoes inserting gas into your house. Instead, the tent heats up to 120 degrees, warming up the wood and killing termites.
Native Pest Management Termite Control
Early and constant prevention can help stave off a termite infestation. Identifying them can be challenging. Cutting off their food sources can decrease the likelihood of them entering and eating your home but this requires a lot of time and effort.
South Florida residences can be a buffet for termites. They’re attracted to the hot and wet weather. They love to eat. You have to be on the lookout to prevent them from taking over your house. Don’t let them.
Contact someone with the expertise and equipment to manage your termite control. Since 2015, Native Pest Management has been identifying and preventing the many pests that live in the area. Our reputation for comprehensive and family-friendly pest control has garnered over 1,000 reviews and several awards including the 2021 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics. We consistently deliver an unparalleled customer experience for you and your family.
If you suspect your West Palm Beach, FL home is infested with termites, our specialists at Native Pest Management can restore your home to its rightful owner. Our simple two-step approach to getting rid of termites can give you peace of mind :
- Inspection: A trained and licensed inspector will visit your home and inspect the interior and exterior.
- Treatment: We will determine the best course of treatment and use an effective pest elimination method.
Our termite control methods come with a one-year warranty that allows you to receive free treatment in the event of another termite infestation occurring in that time. Follow-up services are free. You can also purchase additional years on the warranty for greater peace of mind and to keep your home pest-free for many years.
You don’t have to deal with termites yourself. You save yourself the hassle and stress by letting Native Pest Management identify and prevent termites from making a meal of your West Palm Beach, FL house. Our safe and non-invasive termite control solutions can help keep your home safe.
Request your free quote below.