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I Have Swarming Bugs! Are They Ants or Termites?

It’s a nice day in the beginning of Spring. The temperatures are rising, the grass is growing again, and wildlife is starting to come out of winter dormancy. It's around this time that you may start to notice thousands of tiny bugs swarming around your house or property by your windows. First and foremost, don't panic! In anticipation of the warmer weather, we've compiled these frequently asked questions and answers that can help you figure out what bugs are swarming around your home and how to handle them.

What Are They?

They could be one of several different things but, if it’s between March and May, there's a good chance what you’re seeing are swarming termites or swarming ants.

The only way to be sure is to catch one and take a look. Once you have one captured, place it on a piece of white paper.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is look at the wings. Swarming ants and termites both have 4 wings.

If all 4 wings are the same size, which will be roughly twice as long as the body of the insect, that means termite.

If the bug has two different sized wings, that means ant.

If you’re still not sure, then take a look at the body. Does the insect have a pinched waist? If so, it's an ant. Does it have a straight body shaped like a torpedo?  If so, it’s a termite.

Lastly, if you’re still not sure or you just really want to check this bug out, get a magnifying glass and take a look at the antennae. Are they straight lines coming off the head? That would be a termite.  Does it have a kinked elbow to it? That would be an ant. 

Where Did They Come From? 

If you figured out that you have ants, then they are coming from one of two places: the soil or your wall voids.

Soil or Pavement ants will swarm out from the ground, which can also happen in your basement through expansion joints in the concrete. 

Carpenter ants will swarm out from your walls where they are nesting inside the wood.

If they are termites, they are swarming from an area that they are eating from. This can be inside your walls, your sill plate, or any other wood area in your home.

While termites do not live in your house, they do eat it, and they swarm out from the area where they are eating.  

How Do I Get Rid Of Them? 

In either case, the ant and termite swarmers are the ones responsible for spreading the colony through reproduction. There are only a finite number of them in the colony, so once they all swarm out they are done for that period of time. The swarmers are not actually the issue, they are simply an indication that there is an issue that must be taken care of. You’ll want to call a pest control professional as soon as possible so the bugs can be quickly identified, and a proper pest management plan can be put in place. 

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