Ant or Termite?
Spring is in the air, and if you're reading this, swarming bugs may be in the air as well. What are those? Are they ants? Are they termites? How do I get rid of them? It's not always easy to tell the difference between these frightening fliers, but no worries. We're going to make you an expert.
First off, yes ants can have wings. Some ants of almost every species have wings. They are the reproductive ants, and can be male or female. So, the sight of a swarm does not always mean you are in termite danger. But it's a possibility. This is why it's crucial to identify swarming insects right away. If you see insects flying, or find the bodies in or around your home, call your local pest control company for a free estimate. They will ID the problem and offer a solution.
Let's start by talking about a "swarm". Certain weather conditions cause swarms (thousands) of insects to become air-bound in search of mates, they want to expand their colony. This is called the Nuptial Flight (I kid you not). Usually, warmer temperatures and heavy rain initiate this activity.
If you are able to (and brave enough to) grab a sample, put on your spectacles or grab a high power magnifying glass and take a look:
1. The antennae, are they shaped like an elbow? Do they have a definite bend in them?
2. The body, is the middle narrow? As in, not the same size from top to bottom?
3. The wings, are they different sizes and shapes? Not uniform?
If yes, you have an ant swarm. This means they are looking to reproduce and expand their colony. Notice in the above pictures, the antenna has a distinct angular elbow, it's not straight. And the body has a drastic narrowing in the middle. On the left, a female harvester ant that has just lost it's wings, not typically found on Long Island. One the right, a reproductive pavement ant, more likely the culprit in this area. While some ants are harmless, this swarm is a great way to locate and eliminate a structural ant problem. However, if you are finding carpenter ants, damage to wood in and around your home is a possibility. Contact your local pest management professional for identification and eradication solutions.
If you are fairly local to Long Island, Eastern Subterranean Termites are the perpetrators. If you answered no to the questions above, and observe the following, you probably have a termite problem:
1. Antannae that are straight or curved, with no "elbow" or bend.
2. A body that is broad, not narrow in the middle.
3. Wings that are exactly the same size and shape.
Take a look at the pictures above, notice the antennae are straight, no angular elbow. And the body is not pinched in the middle. Even if the swarm (or debris from a swarm, as in dead bodies everywhere) is outside of your home, it's a good idea to get a termite inspection. Termites tunnel underground (hence, subterranean) very long distances from their colonies to forage.
Now that you know what you are dealing with, it's time to contact your local exterminator for assistance. Miracle Pest Solutions can help, offering effective solutions and professional service for your pest control needs.