How to Tell if You Have Ants or Termites in Your Houston Area Home
Do you have ants or termites? You may be seeing swarming insects around your home, but you can’t tell if they’re termite swarmers or ant swarmers. In this video, BUGCO’s Darrell Mather talks about how you can tell if you have ants or termites by taking a close look at them. If you have either and want them eliminated, please call BUGCO Pest Control at 218-240-2157 today!
Summary of “Do I Have Ants or Termites”
– – So another question is, is how do I know whether or not they’re termites or ants? Termites are not difficult to identify, they’re just easy to confuse with ants. They’re very similar in shape and size, especially during the beginning of the spring and summer.
Are They Ants or Termites — Looking at Swarmers
It’s very common to see termite and ant swarmers. They typically come in after big rains. You’ll see them flying about your structures and the yard. They do look very similar. They’re both going to be dark in color.
So part of the identification process for termites versus ants, and something that our specialists do look for is the antennae. Where the termite swarmers have a curved antenna, ants will have an elbowed antenna, so, much like this. And the termites will look more like this. So that’s one thing that we’re going to look for.
The wing sizes as well as the spacing can help you tell whether you have ants or termites. So termite swarmers have four wings of equal length. Ants will have four wings, two long, two short. So those unequal sizes are a key factor in identifying whether or not they’re ants versus termites.
Ants have a very pinched waist. They have three distinct body portions, the head, the thorax and the abdomen. With termites, they just look long and skinny. They have a very broad waist, so they do not have three distinct parts. They have two distinct parts. It’s easy to show that they have a head, and then just what looks to be a long body.
Identifying the Type of Ant or Termite — The Next Step
So we look for those three things when identifying termites, and then it comes down to the type of ant or termite. So for termites is it a drywood, Formosan or a subterranean. So once again those are the key factors in diagnosing or determining whether or not, one, is it an ant versus a termite? And then we get into what kind of termite is it and the best treatment method.
Now, on the other hand, with ants, if it is an ant infestation, in the greater Houston and San Antonio areas, we have a very, very wide variety of ants, so once we’ve determined one, is it an ant or is it a termite, if we need to treat for ants, we need to determine the species of ants, and that’ll determine the treatment method.
Be Certain of Your Identification BEFORE Applying Chemicals
So there are certain chemicals that you might use for one ant, but it’s a big no no to use on another ant. It can cause or compound the issue, cause a bigger issue than what you previously had.
Some ants’ defense mechanism is to, if they sense danger, so in this case, if you’re misapplying a chemical or using the wrong chemical, their defense mechanism is to break apart into multiple colonies, and the last thing you need is to have multiple colonies in your house where you previously had one. So it’s very important to one, know what the ant species is, and two, the proper chemical to apply.
In this age of do it yourself pest control, it’s very easy for anyone to get online, take a look at the latest blog or get advice from somebody, where it may have worked for them, but there are hundreds and hundreds of chemicals out there, there are hundreds of ant species out there and it’s very easy to go to the super megastore, the big chains, and you just get what was on the shelf. While it could be labeled for that type of ant that you have, do you know for a fact that it’s the type of ant that’s on that label? So do it yourself pest control is a slippery slope.
You’re going to want to determine, is it a fire ant? Are they mounding? So, native versus red imported fire ants. They have very distinct type of mounds. One that everyone is very familiar with, is the large, large fire ant mounds, the large fire ant mounds, whereas native fire ants, they do not create those large mounds. So you want to be careful when determining what you’re treating for and how you’re treating. It’s best to determine the type of ant being treated. Just be certain, so make sure that you’re looking up the correct terminology, so red imported fire ants, native fire ants.
So the treatment methods for, say tawny ants versus red imported fire ants or just regular fire ants, are going to be very different, as well as treatment methods and location of the nest or colony for carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants nest up high where it’s very dry. They don’t like excessively moist areas. Carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood. They destroy the wood in the process of making or building the area for their colony or nest, whereas, say termites, they actually do destroy the wood or the structure by ingesting it, by eating it.
Call 281-240-2157 for Expert Pest Control Help
Using the information above, you can probably tell whether you’re looking at ants or termites, but then the problem is identifying the type of ant or termite. And the next challenge is developing a strategy for eliminating the ant or termite colony from your home. Don’t make a mistake that could endanger your family and your home. Call the pest control professionals at BUGCO to identify your variety of ant or termite and then work with you to develop a plan to eliminate the danger to your family and your home. Call us at 281-240-2157 or contact us using the contact form or the chat box.
BUGCO offers discounts to deserving groups like active duty military, veterans, police officers, first responders and others. Call us for more information!
BUGCO uses the most advanced and effective treatment for termite infestation available — the termiticide Termidor (Termidor Brochure).
We can also use the Trelona® ATBS® Advance® Termite Bait System to kill any termite colonies moving close to your home. Termite baiting stations are installed around your home, often in landscape beds adjacent to your home. The bait stations are placed approximately 10 to 20 feet apart. Once in place, the Trelona® Bait System works through the year to protect your home. BUGCO returns to your home once a year to inspect the stations and provide service. (Please check the Trelona Termite Bait System brochure for more information — New Homeowner 2018).
- Texas A&M – Imported Fire Ant Research & Management Project
- Texas A&M – Tawny Crazy Ant
- Texas A&M – Carpenter Ants Around Homes
- Drywood Termites vs. Subterranean Termites
- How Do I Know I Have Termites in Houston