Carpenter ants and odorous house ants are 2 of the main ant species to be misidentified for termites. Carpenter ants are black and are 3.4-13mm long, one of the largest ants in the U.S.! They are often mistaken for termites because mature ants have wings and fly out of their colony to mate. It doesn’t help that they make their homes out of moist & decaying wood!
Odorous house ants are small, 2.4-3.3mm long, and can be found inside buildings in walls, and under floors. They can also leave behind “frass”, or piles of debris from chewed wood, food, a feces, it has the appearance of sawdust.
It is important to know that ants have a well-defined/small waist, curved antennae, and 1 pair of wings that is larger than the other. When trying to identify an ant or a termite in your home use these characteristics to determine if it is an ant.
Termites of NJ, PA, & DE are Sub-terrain Termites, or they operate underground. Evidence in homes includes mud tubes, structural damage, and discarded wings. Termite swarmers emerge in late winter/early spring and mark the start of the termite reproductive cycle. Swarming termites are frequently confused for flying ants.
Unless inspections are being done frequently on a property the termite swarmer can be one of the main pieces of evidence for a termite inspection. The key features to look for when identifying a possible termite swarmer in your home include the lack of a defined waist, 4 wings that are all of the equal lengths, and as twice as long as their body, and straight antenna.