What do Baseball, The Masters, The NFL Draft, Kentucky Derby and the NBA/NHL playoffs have in common with termites and ants? They are all unstoppable forces of spring! They can’t be avoided and you can set your watch by their arrival each year when the dreary gloom of winter gives way to the lush greens and budding colors of April and May.
Just as many wives are perturbed with their sports addicted husbands who stay glued to the TV while the grass remains uncut, other homeowners are similarly disgusted to find that termites and ants have “swarmed” into their house. Unfortunately for the wives of the sports fan there is probably no solution to their problem but for those who are under siege from termites and ants there is hope. These insects can both be eliminated but one represents a significant threat to the value of the home while the other is a mere nuisance.
With “swarmer” termites and flying ants, the level of alarm depends upon which insect is invading the structure. Flying ants can be a source of concern since their nesting and foraging activity may be undesirable but they are not wood destroying insects and represent little threat to the value of the home. Termites on the other hand rely upon wood as a food source and attack the structural timbers within the home and can cause considerable damage.
Control procedures for ants are rather basic and are fairly affordable for most homeowners who choose to hire a pest control professional. Eliminating termites from a structure is a more complicated matter involving extensive labor and materials and average costs for such services reflect these facts. Fortunately both of these insects “swarm” every spring in an effort to reproduce and as unpleasant as it may be it is often the first (and only) indication to the homeowner that there is an infestation. This can be a good thing but only when a proper identification is made.
“Swarmer” termites are regularly mistaken as flying ants and often with disastrous consequences. It is not uncommon for some homeowners to vacuum or sweep the annual “flying ant” piles around the windows each spring and then go about their business. In reality these are termites and each year the infestation goes undetected the structural damage gets worse. These compromised timbers may be hidden behind drywall in the basement or behind insulation in the crawl area and so the termite evidence goes undetected until it becomes severe and costly to repair.
So how do you tell the difference? It’s pretty simple and a basic understanding of their physical characteristics is all that is necessary to either breathe a sigh of relief or hit the panic button. If you view image you will see:
- Ants have “elbowed” antennae and the termites do not.
- Ants have clearly defined, segmented body parts with two pinched waists and termite bodies are “cigar” shaped.
- Ants have a pair of short wings and a pair of long wings while termites wings are the same size.
If you should experience a spring time “swarm” and are uncertain as to their classification, save some of these insects for a positive identification. Rest assured that both of these pests can be controlled or eliminated. Call for a free estimate, text us a picture or maybe the man of the house can bring them by our office on his way to the lawn and garden store!