When we are looking for pest control solutions, we are typically looking for the best ways to get rid of some specific vermin.
Just as the technique of warding off snails with lines of salt won’t work on cockroaches, the proper ways to exterminate a particular pest must be identified.
The first step is of course to identify the pest itself. Flying ants and termites look visually similar, but there are ways to differentiate between these insects.
What are Flying Ants?
Flying ants, otherwise known as alates, reproductives or swarmers, are fertile, adult ants that fly to a new area to reproduce and start a new colony.
Once these ants have successfully mated, their wings will be shed.
These ants will no longer grow new wings after their mission is accomplished. Most of these winged ants are alates, although there are certain ant species that have winged worker ants, as well.
What are Swarming Termites?
Winged termites serve similar purposes as flying ants.
They will only grow wings to leave their existing colony and reproduce, before starting their own new colony and shedding their wings.
However, swarming termites only emerge from their homes to take flight when weather conditions are suitable to them. You will see plenty of them flying around in swarms after a heavy rain.
Identifying the Differences Between Flying Ants and Termites
A key distinguishing feature that differentiates flying ants from termites is their wing shapes and lengths.
Flying ants have a smaller pair of rear wings as compared to their frontal ones, whereas swarming termites have two sets of wings of equal lengths.
If the winged insect you observe has a pair of elbowed antennae, it is likely a flying ant. Swarming termites only have straight antennae.
Flying ants have longer legs than their termite counterparts, as well. Try finding both types of winged pests to make your own comparison.
You can also tell that the pest is a flying ant if you notice it has a tiny waist compared to its bulbous abdomen at the back.
Ants’ bodies are shaped almost like an hourglass. In comparison, swarming termites have a thick, broad waist that is almost identical in width to their thorax and their abdomen.
Treating for Ants and Termites
Try to first locate the ants’ and termites’ nests.
You can recognise their nests by the mound of wood dust located next to small holes in the ground or in some of your wooden structures. Afterward, you can use baits for both types of pests.
You can spray some boric acid on pieces of wood near where you suspect termites to live.
Termites are likely to swarm to the pieces of wood, and the insecticide will work its magic, dehydrating the termites and shutting down the insects’ nervous systems to kill them.
Check these wood pieces regularly and periodically spray more boric acid, especially if you see termite carcasses nearby.
You can eliminate ants in a similar way. Ants tend to bring food back to the colony, so the queen ant and the entire colony would be eating food that they find near their nest.
Place some of these baits near the nest.
Any foraging ants scavenging for food nearby would bring the bait back, poisoning and eliminating the entire colony. There are other faster methods, but baiting is a way that you can rely on for its easy application and safety.
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