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Happy Spring! Springs marks the beginning of baseball season, but also the beginning when we start to see the signs of termites emerging from their wintering over here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. In the early part of spring, one of the first and most obvious signs of a termite infestation in our region is the emergence of termite swarmers.

It’s very common for home and business owners in Cincinnati to mix up flying ants for termite swarmers unless you know what you’re looking for to distinguish the difference between the two. Continue reading to help inform yourself of the major differences to be looking for if you see a swarm of flying insects inside or outside your home.

From a Distance:

When flying ants or termites appear it’s often in a swarm of hundreds to thousands. If it happens at night you’re going to see them flying or congregating around interior or exterior lights on your home or business. If it happens during the day you’re going to see them congregating on the inside of your windows. Both insects are attracted to light so what’s happening is they’re trying to get to the sunlight outside. When swarming happens inside this is a sign that you have a mature ant or termite colony inside your home or business and that they’re being forced out by the colony as it matures.

You may also see a bunch of wings laying around, both ants, and termites lose their wings when they mate. Another indication of termites and not ants is that termite swarmers have white colored wings that are stacked on top of each other. This ends up making the white color bold and appearing as if they only have one set of wings.

Getting Up Close and Personal:

When looking at the ant or termite the first thing to look at is the wings. If the wings are about 1/3″ to 1/2″ longer than the body and completely rounded on the ends this means you’re looking at a termite swarmer. Where with ants you’ll notice 2 sets of unequal length wings and wings that are more pointed at the ends.

Next, when you look at the bodies there are three major differences to look for. Ant’s will have the distinct, pinched in waist and look segmented, while termites do not have this pinch and appear to have more of a cigar shaped body.

The second thing to look at is their antennae, ant antennae have an elbow in them and have a stick-like quality. While termite antennae are straight and look like they are made up of many segments.

The last difference is the size, termite swarmers are considerably smaller than carpenter ant swarmers. But since it’s very rare to be finding both insects inside your home or business swarming at the same time it’s good to remember that carpenter ant swarmers are about 13mm to 17mm in length. So if you’re seeing winged insects that are much smaller, you probably have termite swarmers.

Check out our termite page for more information and details about termites.

If you’re finding winged insects inside your home or business and determine them to be termite or ant swarmers, it’s important that you do something about it. While carpenter ants are less of a threat than termites, they can still do quite a bit of damage to your structure. Carpenter ants are also a warning sign that your home is being damaged by water. Carpenter Ants prefer soft or rotted wood to create tunnels and channels to nest in.

Sure Thing Pest Control is your hometown partner in dealing with termites or carpenter ants in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. If you’re ever worried that your home may have an ant or termite infestation feel free to reach out to us. You can trust our educated team to protect your home or business from wood-destroying insects.

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