Spot the Difference: Flying Termite vs. Flying Ant

Flying termites and flying ants do two very different things: while ants with wings are basically just airborne irritants, termites with wings (also known as termite swarmers) are an early warning sign that a termite colony is scouting your home as a possible feasting ground. What does it matter? Well, when you first spot one of these flying insects, it can be hard to tell the two apart, and knowing what you’re dealing with can be the difference between panic (flying termite) or annoyance (flying ant). That’s why we’ve put together a little exercise to help you identify the two!

Set One

Alright, let’s see if you can spot the difference between this:

Flying Termite

("Flying Termites" by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0)


And this:


Set Two 

Notice some differences? Let’s try a few more:


("Winged termite" by Bernard DUPONT is liscensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)


Set Three

Finally, this:

("Termites Shedding Wings" by Discott is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)


And this:

So, what did you notice? Take a second to go back and look carefully at each of the 3 sets of photos to make sure you didn’t miss anything! We’ll wait. 






Ok, ready? Here’s what you should’ve seen: 

In all three sets of pictures, we had flying termites as the first image, and flying ants as the second, and each set illustrated a specific difference between the 2.

In set one, you can see that flying termites have 4 wings all of equal length, while flying ants have 2 sets of wings (front and back) that are different lengths. 

In set two, notice that the antennae are subtly different--but different nonetheless. Flying termites have straight antennae, while flying ants have slightly elbowed antennae. 

In set three the focus was on the waists. Flying termites have straight waists while flying ants have bent waists. 

Were you able to spot all of the differences? Don’t worry if you didn’t, some of them were a little tricky! Let’s quickly summarize what we learned about the differences between winged termites and winged ants. Winged termites have: 

  • 4 equal-sized wings
  • Straight antenna
  • Straight waists 

Winged ants have: 

  • Wings of unequal length 
  • Slightly elbowed antennae 
  • Bent waists 

Do you think you’ve identified termite swarmers in your home? Dixon Pest Services offers comprehensive termite solutions that will wipe the floor (and wall) with any termite invaders so that you can rest easy knowing your home is termite-free! 

Want to learn more about termites? Read our blog post on the notorious “super termite”!