How can I tell if those are flying ants or termites swarming at the foundation of my house?

Ant alate

  • Ants have a thin waist (a narrow area between the thorax and first abdominal segment).
  • Front pair of wings is larger than the hind pair.
  • Wings have few veins and are usually clear.

Termite alate

  • Termite thorax and abdomen are broadly connected.
  • Four wings are approximately the same size and shape.
  • Wings have many veins and may be milky-colored.
Anatomical differences between ant alate (top) and termite alate (bottom).  Drawings courtesy of University of Florida Extension.

I have small, dark ants in my house. How do I get rid of them?

Ants and a magnifying glass.

The first step in any pest management plan is to identify the pest. With ants this can be quite difficult because of their small size. A microscope with greater than 30x magnification is often needed to identify them. Most people won’t have access to a microscope, so you can take the specimen to your local county Extension office for identification.

Identifying the ant is important because ants have different food preferences and different behaviors that will directly affect how well

Integrated Pest Management for Managing Fire Ants

Controlling fire ants on a site usually involves an ongoing effort, and is best referred to as fire ant “management” instead of fire ant “control.”

Fire ant mound at building foundation. Photo by Lisa Adams.

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a systems approach to managing insect, mite, disease and weed pests. It uses a combination of the most compatible and ecologically sound pest suppression tactics to keep pest populations below levels that cause problems. IPM uses cultural, biological