A swarm of flying insects is probably a positive sign of a termite infestation for you. However, those swarming insects hovering in your home might be termites or some other flying insects. It can range from flying ants, midges, mosquitoes, flies or even flying termites, or also known as swarmers.
As the weather change approaches, you may start to find some winged insects. They could either be flying ants or flying termites that are looking to build new colonies, often finding their way into your homes.
How can you tell the difference between the two? Why does telling them apart matter anyway? Continue reading to find out.
What are Flying Termites & Ants? Differences & Similarities
There are at least four key differences between flying ants and termites.
Firstly, flying ants have bent antennae, pinched waist, and two sets of wings, of which the front set is larger than the other has. Secondly, termites have straight antennae, broad waist, and two wing sets of equal size. Thirdly, termites shed their wings readily onto the ground that is not the case for ants.
The table below further illustrates the significant differences between the appearance of termites and ants.
|Two-pairs of wings of the same size and shape||Two-pairs of wings with the front wings larger than the hind ones|
|Body that is mostly uniform in width, with fairly short legs||Segmented body with narrow waist and fairly longer legs|
|Straight antennae||Antennae that are longer and bent like elbows|
|May be lighter or darker in colour based on the species||May be black, dark red, or brown depending on the species|
In addition, there are various types of termite species. They are namely, Subterranean Termites, Drywood Termites and Dampwood Termites. Subterranean and Drywood termite infestations often occur in homes in Singapore. Subterranean termites feed on wood, live in the ground and require moisture to live. These mighty pests requires a connection or a link from the ground to build their nests to travel. This also explains why termite infestation can spread upwards in a home to few storeys high.
Drywood Termite associates with homes with high humidity and huge presence of wood. They live within the wood and infest in items such as furniture, cabinet, doorframes or panels. Hence, their diet comprises hard and softwood, usually going for grains along the wood items.
Rentokil shares more on the common questions asked about termite species. This includes clarifying on the common term used to describe termites as white ants. In addition, you may also find critical information relating to health harm caused by termites, and what actions to take if your home is invaded with termites.
Signs of Termite & Ant Infestation
Additionally, infestations caused by termites and ants are manifested differently and obviously, among the two, termites are more destructive. They are also known as the silent destroyer and is capable of damaging home structure, doorframes and panels, build-in furnishings such as kitchen cabinets and even ceiling. There are cases where infested ceilings are too severe that weakened and collapsed as a result.
Termite Infestation Signs
The problem with termite damage is that not only it is costly to repair but it can also take a while to be discovered—often when it is so severe that it has already compromised the structural integrity of your home. However, there are some termite infestation signs to look out for to prevent further damage:
- Observe if there is a presence of mud tubes
- There may be termite droppings that look like sawdust and discarded wings
- Presence of any damaged wood (e.g. small holes, hollow-sounding wood)
- Are there signs of moisture (e.g. bubbling/peeling paint or laminate floors)
With a complex and less visible pest such as termites, termite prevention is best to begin by engaging in proper home termite inspection. Termite specialists will utilise the right tools and technology to detect presence of termite activities accurately. They are trained to survey the environment and identify locations that are potential key risk areas.
Ant Infestation Signs
Although far from being dangerous, ants, in large quantities remain a nuisance and generally, however, they do cause some harm to our health and safety. As they carry bacteria as they move along unsanitised surfaces, ants can spread diseases such as Salmonella. For some ant species such as the fire ants, their bites can sting and cause reactions and allergies, itch and swelling of the bitten area. Below are some signs of an ant infestation:
- Large numbers of live ants, particularly in the kitchen or in areas where there is food.
- Ant trails that go in and out of your home or property.
- Ant nests that look like a pile of soil or dirt.
The worst ants can do is that they do not mind getting into your trash cans, picking up some dirt and bacteria, before getting into your preparation areas and contaminating them. However, there are carpenter ants that can tunnel into and nest in wood, thus damage the structure of your home in the process. Discover the most common ant species in Singapore here and discover how each can cause problems to your home.
Rentokil Initial shares some common home remedies on how to get rid of ants. Firstly, using insecticide sprays and gels are often applied in most residential homes. Secondly, diffusers are used to repel ants to in some way. Thirdly, some believe in using water to flush them away. Fourthly, using ventilation to keep most pests away, not just ants. Finally, there are various pest myths around ants that utilise natural ingredient such as cucumber peel, condiments and spices. Read on to find out if these myths do work.
Why Do Termites & Ants Fly Anyway?
While they have plenty of differences in appearance and in infestation, ants and termites also share a few similarities, particularly in the reason why they fly.
Both pests swarm as part of their mating process. During warmer months, fertile winged termites and ants fly from their nests to mate and build new colonies. In ants, the males typically die soon after mating, while the queens drop their wings and start a new nest.
ALSO READ: What Do Termites Look Like and Can They Fly?
In termites, on the other hand, both male and female species lose their wings, live on, and continue to expand their new colonies. However, you should not confuse flying termites with drywood termites. Most flying termites only mate and do not eat wood, drywood termites are winged and eat away wood.
Why Detecting & Identifying Pests Matter in Pest Control
There are many factors with the sudden appearance of winged insects in your home. You should never downplay the possibility that they are flying termites or ants that are out looking for a place to start a new colony.
Confusing flying termites with flying ants is one thing and with other flying insects such as midges or fruit flies, is another. It is so easy to make that mistake, unless you are a pest control specialist. Only by identifying which pests are present that you would be able to outline the necessary steps to protect your home.
These also illustrate why your best protection would be engaging the help of a pest control professional. Accurate pest identification is important because of the following:
- You will receive the right and relevant pest treatments
- Addressing existing pest infestation
- Lower risks of recurring pests problems
- Minimal disruptions and investments in the long term
- Prevent further damage to the home, especially for termite infestations
Pest Control by Rentokil
Our pest control specialists at Rentokil Singapore are trained to distinguish termites from ants and provide the necessary treatment to eradicate them from your home, whether it is professional termite treatment or ant control.
Our integrated termite pest control solution includes monitoring and baiting, as well as using liquid termiticide that is effective in treating both an existing problem and preventing any potential termite infestations in the future. Different types of termite treatments have different applications, costs and time required. Firstly, for spot treatments that fix instantly on localised areas, these are one-time-off are quick in treatment. Secondly, termiticide injecting requires a few hours to few days, may cost slightly more but comes with seven years of warranty. Finally, there is a foaming method that use foam and lather generator to inject into panels or frames and might cost quite a bit if there are many items to treat. For homeowners who is engaging termite solutions for the first time, here is a guide to refer. It includes critical questions such as:
- Which termite control programme is most effective
- Which treatments are targeting at different termite species
- What to expect before and after a termite treatment
- How long does the treatment and efficacy last
- Evaluating a trustworthy and credible termite specialist
We also offer effective solutions to get rid of ants through our professional ant control for both indoor and outdoor areas. Our treatments target specific species to ensure a fast and effective solution to remove ants in your property.
If you are concerned about flying ants or termites in your home, get in touch with us today by visiting our website or contacting us at 6347 8183.