Have you noticed flying insects that flock to light bulbs during rainy seasons? Believe it or not, they could be the beginning of your domestic nightmare if they happen to be termites. They are social insects which are made up of different castes: workers, soldiers, king, queen and last but not least, alates – or most commonly known as the flying termites.
What Are Flying Termites?
Flying termites are winged reproductives that swarm out from the nest to establish new colonies. They normally emerge when the humidity is high, usually in the evening after the rain and are attracted to brightly lit areas.
Once they have settled down in a suitable environment, flying termite will start their own colony and become the future termite king and queen. They may look harmless, but once their colony is established, the damages that they cause can be devastating. Did you know that termites are responsible for property damage worth up to RM40 million in Malaysia every year? And it doesn’t help that most home insurance policies don’t cover termite damages.
How Similar and Different Are Flying Termites and Flying Ants?
People often mistake flying termites with flying ants as they share some similarities. Flying ants are winged reproductives looking to start a new colony and are also attracted to brightly lit areas. However, they couldn’t be more different, especially knowing their subtle differences could save you a lot of troubles and money.
Prevention is often the best treatment, let’s take a look at some of the differences between flying ants and flying termites:
- Waist: Termites have a straight, thick waist while ants have a pinched waist.
- Antennae: Termites have straight antennae while ants’ antennae are bent.
- Wing Length: Termite wings are the same length while ant wings are of different length.
- Discarded Wings: Flying ants do not shed their wings while flying termites do. You can be fairly certain that you’ve identified termites if you’ve also found discarded wings, especially by the window sill.
The image below should help you to identify some important differences in the body shape of flying termite and flying ant.
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