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.

My house has been found to have termites, what control method is better, baits or liquid insecticides?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Both techniques have their advantages.

Termite baits:

  1. Are designed to suppress or eliminate termite colonies.
  2. They incorporate a slow-acting toxicant or growth regulator into cellulose-based termite food. The toxicants are delivered to the colony by foraging worker termites, which share their food with other colony members.
  3. Because of their precise delivery system and the small amounts of pesticide used, termite-baiting systems are thought to be the “safest” of the available termite treatment methods.
  4. Drawbacks