Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Are These Termites, Or Are They Ants?

A lot of Orange County homeowners have been seeing swarms of winged-insects around their homes this summer. Our area has more than its fair share of termite problems, so it is easy to understand why so many people would automatically assume they are seeing swarming termites. However, not all swarming insects are termites – they could just be flying ants.

How can you tell the difference between termites and flying ants?
It is easy to confuse termites with flying ants. To tell the difference, you’re going to have to take a closer look.
If you’re looking at a termite, you’ll see it has a head with a cigar-shaped body attached (straight waist). A termite has two pairs of equal-length wings that are almost twice as long as its body. Also, the termite has straight antennae.
The easiest way to determine if what you’re looking at is an ant is to look at the insect’s waist. If it has a pinched waist, you know it is an ant. Take a look at the photo in this article and you’ll see that the ant’s waist is very small. It is almost like the ant’s tail section is held on by a thread! Ants have two pairs of unequal-length wings – the front pair are much larger than the rear pair. Lastly, the ant’s antennae are elbowed.
Termites and ants swarm during different times of the year. Subterranean termites usually swarm in the early spring, and drywood termites will generally swarm in the fall. Ants usually swarm in the late spring and summer.
Termites and ants that have wings are the young kings and queens of their colonies. They use their wings to fly out of their nests in search of a mate. Once they find a new partner, their wings are shed and the mating process begins. This is how new colonies of termites and ants are

Will flying ants damage the wood in my home?
The most common ants that we deal with in Orange County are Argentine ants (Iridomymex humilis), and they are no threat to the wood in our homes.
In very rare cases, you may encounter carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.). This species of ant is one of the largest ants you’ll find – they are about a ½ inch long. Carpenter ants can do a lot of damage to a home and can be very difficult to eradicate. These pests are a big problem in the Pacific Northwest, and in areas of old forests.

How do I get rid of flying ants?
If you see a lot of these flying ants in your home, the first step would be to vacuum them up. Live flying ants that are difficult to reach can be taken care of by spraying them with a household cleaner, such as Windex or 409 Spray. Once you are finished vacuuming, take the vacuum outside and empty it into a sealed trash container.
The next step is to locate the ant nest and eliminate it. This is very important because even though you may have just vacuumed up one hundred flying ants, there could still be 50,000 to 100,000 more ants left in the nest.
Finding the nest is not always easy to do and may take some time. If possible, try and find the point from which they are entering your home. It may take a while, but if you’ll follow the ants while they are moving about, they will often lead you to their entry point.
Once you find the entry point, go outside of your home and inspect the exterior wall in that area. Quite often, you’ll find a trail of ants in that area. From there, follow the trail of ants and they will lead you to their nest.
While doing your inspection, pay special attention to any plants or trees that are touching the house as this is also a common way for ants to get into your home. Follow the ants, as they climb up and down the plants or trees, and you may find a nest in the ground below.
When you find the nest, you can treat it by simply injecting a residual insecticide directly into the nest. If you prefer to use an ant bait, apply it near the hole of the nest. Ant baits can be very effective but it may take a long time before the ants are gone. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using any insecticide products.
By following these steps, you can solve a lot of ant problems yourself. If you have a problem that is getting out of hand and you need help, please call us at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to assist.