How To Tell The Difference Between Flying Ants vs Termites?

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There are many differences between flying ants vs termites. When it comes to flying ants and termites, there is a lot of confusion about the two bugs. Many people think they are the same, but this could not be further from the truth. 

To help identify the two types of bugs, we will need to look at some key points in common and what makes them different. How to tell flying ants vs termites difference?

The most obvious difference is that flying ants have wings, while termites do not. Flying ants can be eliminated with the right pest control methods, but termites use different pest control methods.

Once you understand the two, it will be easier to tell them apart. Continue reading to know how to tell winged ant vs termite apart. 

Do ants have wings?

Adult Female Winged Termite of the Epifamily Termitoidae

Yes, ants have wings. Winged ants are a common sight during the summertime, as they swarm to mate. Ants develop wings at the reproductive stage when they fly and start a new colony.

What do termites look like with wings?

Winged termites and flying ants are both types of similar-looking insects. Winged termites have a straight waist and straight antennae, while flying ants have a waist that is pinched in the middle, bent antennae, and two sets of wings, with the top set being larger than the lower.

Flying Ants vs Termites: Which Is More Harmful?

many of brown winged termite on floor

Termites are the most destructive insects when it comes to homes. They can cause serious damage to the foundation, walls, and other home parts. Flying ants are usually not harmful, just a nuisance, but they can contaminate food and spread disease.

On the other hand, termites can lead to more serious problems like structural damage and fires. It is important to know how to tell the difference between termites and flying ants so you can address any potential problems quickly.

What is the difference between a termite and a flying ant’s body (Physical Appearance)?

Moths flying around light bulbs in the house.

There are a few key ways to distinguish between flying ants and termites, the first being their physical appearance. Termites tend to be larger, have straight antennae, and have a large waist. On the other hand, flying ants are smaller in size and have bent antennae and a small waist.

It is important to notice that while both of these insects can cause damage if left untreated, ants are harmless, whereas termites can cause structural damage.

Other Difference between termite And Flying Ant

flying ants vs termites

Termites and flying ants may look very similar to the untrained eye, but there are a few key ways to tell them apart like: 

  • Flying ants are attracted to water, while termites are not. Carpenter ants, a specific species of ant that flies and reproduces, have a waist that is thicker than their head and thorax. Finally, if you see flying ants in winter, it may mean they’ve nested in your house, and you should take action to remove them.
  • Termites hide and destroy, while flying ants are typically only a nuisance. Another way to identify termite infestation is by tapping the wood. If it sounds hollow, that’s a sign of trouble.
  • Termites are detrivores, meaning they eat dead plants and animal material. Different termites include dry wood, damp wood, and subterranean termites. Dry wood termites tend to inhabit wooden furniture or structures, while damp wood termites live in moist environments such as crawlspaces or near water sources. Subterranean termites live underground and build mounds of earth.
  • Though both flying ants and termites may swarm around sources of light after dark, there are some clear distinctions between the two. Termites swarm during spring, generally while ants fly during the summer season. In addition, termites and flying ants swarming around electric lights tend to be a telltale sign that you’re dealing with termites.
  • Termites are different from ants because they consume cellulose for survival. In contrast, ants are omnivorous and eat anything. Additionally, flying ants have a two-segmented waist, while termites have a three-segmented waist.
  • Notice the life stages of each insect. Ants have four life stages: an egg, a larva, a pupa, and an adult. Termites only have three stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. Second, consider the lifestyles of two insects. Worker ants are short-lived and die within a few years. Queen ants live for several years, but male ants die right after mating.
  • On the other hand, female ants can live for quite a while. Lastly, look at the size of the insects. Ants are typically smaller than termites.
  • The main difference between flying ant and termite is that flying ants only hollow out the wood, while termites eat the entire section of wood. Both termites and flying ants’ exteriors look almost the same. The damage done by both termites and flying ants is also quite minimal.
  • Flying ants only create tunnels, so if you see long, winding holes in woodwork but no evidence of mud tubes, you are likely seeing flying ants. Flying ants are also found near windowsills as they use the light to orient themselves when leaving the nest and mating. After mating, the male ant will die, and the female will lose her wings. You can often find these wings near windowsills or doors. Finally, flying ants have a defect in the wooden areas of your house; for example, you might find small piles of sawdust near an infested area. On the other hand, termites do not leave wings or create defective tunnels.
  • Termites have twisted wings, meaning they cannot shed them. They also like to hide, so the surface behind walls or below is such a common spot. If you notice insects crawling near you, they’re likely ants. Termites usually stay hidden.

How to get rid of both flying ants and termite damage in your home and wood?

Flying termite bugs

Ants can be difficult to get rid of because they are often hard to find. They like areas that are easily accessible and close to moisture and food sources. One of the only ways to get rid of flying ants is to find their nest. Ants like to nest in these areas:

Termites are more likely to swarm during the springtime because they are looking for new colonies. If you have got a termite problem in your house, it’s best to call a professional who can determine the nest’s location and use preventive measures around your house.

How to Prevent the Pests Problem of Flying Ants and Termite?

Winged Eastern Subterranean Termites emerge from underground nests to mate and start new colonies.

One of the best ways to prevent flying ants is to keep your kitchen and other dining areas clean. Sweep and mop regularly, and take out the trash often. Additionally, be sure to keep food sealed in airtight containers.

Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water, such as in the kitchen and other dining areas. You can also seal any cracks or crevices in your home’s exterior where they might enter. Finally, keep your home clean and free of clutter so they have nowhere to nest. 

Be especially vigilant in protecting crawl spaces, basements, and attics. Ensure these areas are well sealed off and free of any cracks or openings where pests can enter. Keep tree branches and shrubs cut back from your home. Pests often use these areas to get into the home undetected.

Which is worse: ants or termites?

Adult Winged Termite of the Epifamily Termitoidae

There is some debate over which is worse: ants or termites. The answer, however, is that it depends on the type of ant or termite. Ants can be classified into two categories: ants and termites. Termites are further broken down into two categories: dampwood and drywood.

Carpenter ants are the only type of ant you need to be concerned with when they swarm because they can damage wooden structures. Not all ants are destructive to wood, but all termites can be.

Are Termites Bigger Than Ants?

Yes, termites are generally bigger than ants. For example, the common eastern termite is about one-half inch long, while the carpenter ant can grow to be about three-quarters of an inch. However, there are some species of ants that are larger than some termites.

For example, the bull ant can reach up to two inches in length. So, it really depends on the particular species of insect you are comparing.


In answering the question, “Do I have termites or flying ants?” From the above article, you will be able to come to the conclusion of what type of pest you are dealing with.

Termites and ants are harmful to homes, businesses, and other structures. They can cause huge damage if they are not treated properly. It is important to identify which type of insect you are dealing with to take the necessary steps to get rid of them.

If you see flying ants in your home, it is important to contact pest control experts right away. They can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment plan to get rid of the ants and protect your home

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.