Flying Ants vs. Termites: How to Tell the Difference in Salt Lake City

As summer approaches in Salt Lake City, you can visibly find an emergence of flying insects, and flying ants and termites are one of those However, Salt Lake City residences often confused among these aerial creatures due to their similar appearances. Despite being able to fly, they are very different creatures with unique behaviors and roles in the environment.


Physical Characteristics

Flying Ants: Flying ants, also known as alates, belong to various ant species. Their distinctive body is divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen. Their bodies are constricted at the waist, giving them an apparent “waistline.” Flying ants have two wings, with the front pair larger than the hind pair.


Termites: Termites, on the other hand, have a more uniform body structure. Their bodies consist of a head, thorax, and abdomen, but they lack the pronounced waistline that flying ants possess. Termites have straight antennae and two pairs of wings equal in size and shape.


Wing Characteristics

Flying Ants: One distinct characteristic of flying ants is their wings. The wings of flying ants are asymmetrical—the front wings are more substantial, while the hind wings are smaller and more delicate. This feature creates a distinct visual contrast when the ant is in flight.

Termites: Although termites also possess two pairs of wings, their wings are uniform in size and shape. They are equal in length and have a translucent appearance. Unlike flying ants, termites’ wings do not exhibit a noticeable size difference.

Swarming termites

Antennae Shape

Flying Ants: Flying ants have elbowed or bent antennae that are more pronounced than the straight antennae of termites. This attribute is an excellent indicator to distinguish between the two species.

Termites: Termites have straight antennae without any bends or curves. This characteristic is helpful when differentiating them from flying ants.

Behavior and Ecology

Flying Ants: In Salt Lake City, flying ants are often seen during mating flights. These flights typically occur during warmer months and are crucial to the ants’ reproductive cycle. After mating, male flying ants die, while fertilized female flying ants shed their wings and search for suitable nesting sites to establish new colonies.


Termites: Termites also engage in mating flights, commonly referred to as “swarms.” Specific weather conditions often trigger these swarms and are crucial for establishing new termite colonies. Unlike flying ants, male and female termites survive the swarming process, shedding their wings once they find a suitable location to start a colony.

Wood-Damaging Behavior

flying ant

Termites: One of the most critical differences between flying ants and termites is their ecological roles. Termites are infamous for their ability to damage wood structures and materials. They feed on cellulose found in wood, causing potential harm to buildings and other wooden structures. Termite infestations require prompt attention to prevent extensive damage.


Flying Ants: Flying ants are not known for causing damage to wood. Their main function is reproduction and colony establishment, which helps maintain the ecosystem’s natural balance by promoting nutrient cycling and supplying food for other animals.

Effective Ways to Get Rid of Flying Ants and Termites in Salt Lake City

Although, flying ants and termites are mostly the same in some factors, dealing with flying ants and termites in Salt Lake City requires different eradication methods


For flying ants:


  • Start by sealing entry points, as their flights are often tied to mating rituals.
  • Remove potential food sources and keep areas dry to discourage their presence.
  • Consider using non-repellent insecticides to eliminate them at the source.


Contrarily, termites demand a more targeted approach. Regular inspections of your property for mud tubes and damaged wood are crucial. If infestation is confirmed, consulting with professional termite exterminator in Salt Lake Cityl is advised. These experts pest control professionals may employ methods such as bait systems, liquid termiticides, or even heat treatments, depending on the severity of the infestation.


In both cases, prevention remains key. Address moisture issues, repair leaks promptly, and ensure proper ventilation to deter these pests. You can protect your Salt Lake City home from ants and termites by being aware of the distinctive behaviours of flying ants and termites and taking appropriate action.

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