Friday, March 8, 2013

Termites vs. Ants: Some Key Differences

Sometimes you encounter swarms of flying insects inside or around our homes, but find it difficult to identify them. Ants and termites look very much alike to the naked eye, and telling one from another becomes extremely difficult. Actually identifying termites versus ants requires an understanding of crucial features, which helps in differentiating between them. In fact, ants and termites are from two different insect groups, but look very much alike. Ants are capable of being a nuisance, but not as much as termites. A termite infestation can cause severe damage to property.

Both termites and ants generally reproduce during the springtime. The new nest is created away from the old one to avoid pressure on the existing resources. These insects make their departure especially on windy days for reaching far-off destinations. The perfect time for departure is just after a storm since the soil is moist and ideal for breeding. This exodus of adult bugs for forming their own colonies is known as swarming. The female and male termites shed their wings and prepare themselves to mate with their ideal partner. Moist soil or wood is a perfect place for them to start their own colonies.

In ant colonies, the male and female ants leave their old colony once the female ant is inseminated. After insemination the male ant dies. The fertilized female ant then looks out for a new place to lay her eggs. The choice of nest depends on the ant species. Swarming termites are often confused as flying ants. These winged ants and termites are referred to as alates. The termite alates look like ants due to their wings. These swarmers live for less than a day unless they burrow into soil.

Ways to tell the difference between termites and ants:
Wing Size
The wings of a termite are equal in length and run past the abdomen, while the wings of ants are unequal in length and end at the top of the abdomen.

Shape of the Antennae
Termites have beadlike and straight antennae, while ants’ antennae are elbowed.

Size of the Waist
Ants have a pinched abdomen, but termites' abdomens are more aerodynamic and broad.

Ants have compound eyes, but termites have no eyes.

Diet of Termites vs Ants
Ants are scavengers and depend on a variety of foods. Termites on the other hand feed on wood and grass. They can also cause come serious damage to properties and trees due to their feeding and nesting behavior.

The presence of swarmers in and around homes is a cause for concern and requires immediate action. If termite swarmers are found it is better to get your home inspected for more of these winged insects. The symptoms of termite infestation are the presence of shelters between the soil and wood and mud filled joints on wood or any finished area of the wood. If the wood is soft and can be easily pierced then it calls for immediate action against termites. A good professional pest control expert will be able to eliminate and treat the termite problem. Eliminating food sources and wastes inside and outside the homes can easily get rid of the ant problems. Ant nests need to be treated to completely get rid of them. Sometimes it becomes difficult to locate their nests, in which case you may need the services of a pest control company to destroy their colony.

The ant and termite swarmers group in similar weather conditions. If you notice serious infestation problem it is very necessary to store a sample for identification. This will help in deciding the proper treatment.

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