When there are swarms of flying insects outside of your home, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between a swarm of termites and a swarm of flying ants. But don't be afraid we got you covered.
Termites vs Ants
. When termite swarmers swarm, they are often misidentified as ant swarmers. This is a common mistake because they look very similar to each other (they both have black bodies with wings). However, there are three very simple characteristics to look for that can be used to know the difference between a winged termite and a winged ant. They are, The antenna shape, The waist size, And the wings size.
Signs of subterranean termite damage. Subterranean termites dwell underground in loose, damp soil. Outward signs of termite damage include buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, areas that appear to be suffering from slight water damage and visible mazes within walls or furniture.
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termite inspection most times can be a dirty job. You may want to purchase and wear a pair of disposable coveralls and a pair of gloves. A bright flashlight will come in handy to light up dim or dark areas and a flat headed screwdriver will allow you to probe wood to find weakness that is indicative of termite infestations.
When a termite inspection infestation there are a few things you will be looking for such as mud tubes, damaged wood and/or live termites.
- Mud tubes. Subterranean termites will often make their nest in the soil (moisture source) and then build highways called "mud tubes" that run vertically or otherwise to connect the nest to a wooden food source. Mud tubes are a definite sign of termite infestation, but the absence of mud tubes does not mean that no infestations exist, since there are other ways that termites reach food sources.
- Damaged wood. Wood with sustained termite damage might look "crushed" at structural joints. If you tap the damaged wood with the end of the screwdriver or knife, you will hear a dull thud. Wood suspected of termite damage can be further inspected by probing the surface with the screwdriver or pocket knife to expose tunnels. Subterranean termites excavate tunnels that run parallel to the grain.
- Piles of wings. Before swarmers enter the next stage of development, they will shed their wings which are often left in scattered piles near windows or light sources.
- Buckling or bubbling paint or brittle drywall.
Potential Problem Areas
These are the areas you will need to inspect very closely for signs of termite infestation. Keep in mind that termites are typically found at or near ground level.
- Wooden elements of construction in basements and crawl spaces
- Window sills and frames (particularly in the basement), support posts, sub floors, supporting piers, joists, and wooden decks or porches.
- Areas where concrete elements meet wood, such as in steps, slabs, or porches
- Cracks in brick construction, expansion joints, or cement where termites might have gained entry
- Wood piles and debris near the foundation including tree stumps, exterior basement window and door frames, and fence posts.
If you still suspect you have termites and the inspection guide above did not lead you to a termite infestation, it is quite possible you have drywood termites. Please refer to our Drywood inspection guide for more tips.
It is always recommended that you directly treat an active infestation if you can locate the indoor nesting area. There are many subterranean termite control products available, and we recommend you use a non-repellent product to directly treat the nest. Using a product that is non-repellent (or not detectable) will allow the termites to pick up the product on their bodies and transfer it to other termites within the colony. Non-repellent products come in three formulations - concentrated liquids, aerosol sprays and ready to use foams. The formulation you choose is usually going to be based on the location of the infestation and also personal preference. If you need help choosing a product that will best fit your needs, please contact our team of pest control professionals.