3 Winged Bugs That Look Like Flying Termites

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Flying termites are a big issue for your home if you have an infestation. However, sometimes homeowners winged bugs that look like flying termites as termites.

These can create a problem as the pest control method for different pests varies and thus it is necessary to be able to distinguish between similarly-looking bugs and flying termites. Let us take a look

What Do Flying Termites Look Like?

Flying termites, or alates, are reproductive termites. Alates have two pairs of wings that distinguish them from other termites. They leave their current nests or colonies because there’s not enough space in the nests to accommodate them.

Bugs That Look Like Flying Termites

They are also the reproductive form of the termite. They are distinguishable from other termites because they have two pairs of wings that are about the same size.

Alates will leave their nests in swarms in order to establish new colonies. Once they find a new home, they will mate and lose their wings.

After that, they will drill into the wooden structure of the home and start eating the wood. However, they will only do this until they find another site to start breeding.

Flying termites look different from regular termites in a number of ways. One of the most obvious is that they have wings. They also tend to be darker in color, and their body is more elongated.

It is important to be aware of the flying termite look-alikes so you can protect your home if they are present.

3 Winges bugs that look like flying termites

There are a few different types of flying bugs that may be mistaken for termites. The three most common ones are flying ants, powderpost beetles, and carpenter bees. Let us find out more about the resemblance between these three creatures with flying termites.

Flying Ants

Queen ant

When the weather starts to warm up, you may start to see large flying ants around your home. These are not termites! Flying ants are just a type of ant that has wings and can fly.

They are protected by their colony all winter-long and only swarm when the conditions are perfect.

Flying ants are different from termites in that they only fly during mating season. They are attracted to light and will often swarm around windows or porch lights.

When it comes to identifying flying ants, they can be differentiated from termites in two ways: their wings and antennae.

Fly ants have irregularly shaped pairs of wings, while termites have two pairs of wings of the same length and size. Additionally, like all other types of ants, flying ants have bent antennae.

Powderpost Beetles

Adult lyctid powder post beetle isolated on white

Powderpost beetles are a common sight in many parts of the United States. They live for just one year, but their larvae stage is long and can do serious damage before emerging as adults.

These beetles are small, black, or reddish-brown beetle that damages wood by boring into it and leaving the powder on the surface.

They are most active at night and can cause significant damage if left untreated.

Carpenter Bees

Xylocopa valga or carpenter bee on Calotropis procera or Apple of Sodom flowers. Macro with shallow DOF

Carpenter bees are large and have black and yellow stripes with tinges of metallic reflections. They get their name because they build nests in wood, like carpenters.

Unlike termites, carpenter bees are not destructive and do not eat wood. Instead, they use the wood to make their nests.

Carpenter bees can be found throughout the United States. They are often mistaken for flying termites, but there are a few key distinctions.

For one, carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen, while flying termites have a dull black abdomen. Carpenter bees can also be identified by their three prominent wings while flying termites only have two wings.

Despite their name, carpenter bees are not considered structural pests. They do, however, create wood stains that can be unsightly. Additionally, they can be very noisy when they swarm.

Flying Ants vs. Termites

Flying ants and flying termites are often mistaken for each other, but there are a few key distinctions between the two.

Flying ants have a pronounced waist, and the front pair of wings are longer than the back one. Termites have straight waists, and all four of their wings are about the same size.

Furthermore, termites have straight antennae, while flying ants have bent antennae.

Termites vs. Carpenter Bees

Termites and carpenter bees are often mistaken for one another as they share a lot of similarities. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Carpenter bees are independent insects that don’t form colonies as flying termites do. They also have a shiny black body, while termite bodies are generally duller in color.

Furthermore, Termites eat the wood they infest, while carpenter bees make nests by “drilling” into the wood and eventually creating a large funneling hole.

Carpenter bees can be identified by their black body and yellow stripes, whereas termites are whitish in color.

In addition to that, Carpenter bees are about the size of a wasp and are hairy. They do not swarm like termites; instead, they nest in preexisting cavities in trees or structural lumber.

And anything larger than 0.1in diameter is highly unlikely to be associated with termite “kick-out holes.”

In contrast, termites are attracted to hardwoods and will eat the wood until it is nothing but a shell. Termites also produce a different sound – a dull, muffled “click” that can be heard when they swarm.

Lastly, flying termites have straight antennae, while carpenter bees have elbowed antennae; termites have wings that are equal in size and shape, while carpenter bees’ wings are tapered.

Termites vs. Powderpost Beetles

Termites are the most damaging kind of wood-eating insect. They may swiftly and utterly destroy a home, leaving nothing but a mound of powdered dust behind.

Powderpost beetles are another prevalent wood-eating insect, but they are not as damaging as flying termites.

Flying termites are more likely to swarm and are simpler to identify, but powderpost beetles are more difficult to eradicate and may fly, making them more difficult to find.

A termite or powderpost beetle infestation can cause catastrophic structural damage to your property if not treated promptly. It’s critical to be able to discern between the two sorts of defects so that you can take the appropriate actions to resolve the issue.

2 Additional Bugs That Look Like Termites

Carpenter Ants

Flying Ant Up Close

Carpenter ants are different from termites in the way that they do not have wings and instead bore tunnels in wood. They are a common type of ant that can be found in many parts of the world.

These ants can be harmful to wooden structures as they tunnel and nest in the wood, but they are not known to cause as much damage as termites.

Carpenter ants have an elbowed antenna, a defined waist, and longer front wings than hind wings. They tend to be black or red in color and live in wooded areas.

Winged carpenter ants are more visible during springtime as they swarm to create new colonies. They are often mistaken for termites, but there are a few key differences.

These WInged Carpenter ants have two pairs of wings while termites only have one pair. Carpenter ants also have elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae. Finally, carpenter ants will shed their wings after swarming, while termites will detach their wings after swarming.

Acrobat Ants

forest ant exercises on a mushroom

Acrobat ants are small, shiny brown and black insects that get their name from their ability to raise their abdomen over their head or thorax in a threatening manner. They can be found all over the United States and are often mistaken for flying termites.

These ants, also known as triangle ants, are so named because of their unique flying behavior. They live in colonies and are most commonly found in moist areas such as wires, pipes, and walls.

They are attracted to sweets and will often invade homes in search of food. While they do not cause any damage to property, they can be a nuisance.

These ants have a triangular-shaped head and two pairs of wings that allow them to fly. They are often mistaken for termites, but they are actually harmless to humans. However, they can infest homes if left unchecked.


There are other pests also that resemble the flying termite in addition to the ones mentioned here. To name a few – mayflies and green lacewing bugs are insects that share a few common characteristics with flying termites.

They are all three-winged, they all have two antennae, and they can all fly. While they may look similar to termites, they are not actually related to them. Interestingly, green lacewing bugs don’t have wings, but they can glide using their long legs.

It is necessary to be able to distinguish between these pests in order to sketch out a proper eradication plan.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.