An important distinction for homeowners is whether the insect spotted inside their house is a winged carpenter ant or a winged termite. Having carpenter ants is a problem. But having termites is certainly a bigger problem. We don’t think of ants or termites as winged insects – and that is true when it comes to the workers. However, female and male reproductive ants and termites (“swarmers”) that leave the colony to start their own nests do have wings.
There are three ways to spot the difference between a winged carpenter ant and a winged termite based on easily observable anatomy:
Carpenter ants have a thin “waist” (a pedicel) between the base of the abdomen and the trunk. A carpenter ant has a narrow waist. A termite has a broad waist.
As with all ant species, carpenter ants have jointed, elbowed antennae. Winged termites have straight antennae.
Carpenter ants belong to the same the insect group as hornets, wasps, and bees. All of these insects share the same type of wings: two pairs of membranous wings with the front ones being larger than the hind ones. So, a winged ant will have front and hind wings of different lengths. In contrast, termites have front and hind wings are of equal length.
For more information about identifying the bugs in your home, contact Cowleys Pest Services. We service Piscataway, Trenton, Toms River, Brick, Old Bridge, Princeton Junction, Middletown, Fair Haven, Asbury Park, Jackson, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, East Brunswick, Howell and nearby New Jersey.