Flying Ants vs Termites
Identifying the flying ants and termites apart would be one of the toughest deals for an ordinary or untrained person. At the first sight, even a professional entomologist would be confused before taking a close examination of the features. However, that never means that termites become ants when they grow wings nor the other way around. Therefore, it is always good being informed about the differences between flying ants and termites, and the most important facts have been discussed in this text.
Flying ant is a stage of the lifecycle of ants, where they have developed wings. These hymenopterans belong to the Family: Formicidae and there are more than 22,000 species of ants. Flying ants being another stage of the lifecycle of ants, their whole body is made up of three major parts known as head, thorax, and abdomen. The junction between the thorax and abdomen is highly prominent, which is a stand out characteristic of the Order: Hymenoptera. There are two sets of wings or two pairs of wings in flying ants, where the forewings are larger than the hind wings. Their membranous wings are more or less pointed than in most of the ant species. Feeding preferences of most of the flying ants are not specific, but they are capable of sustaining from almost anything in their path, as they are omnivores. The antennae of all the ant species are bent like an elbow, which delusions a pair of legs from the head. Legs of the ants are considerably long, and those get longer than previous when they have proceeded to the winged stage. The body profile of flying ants is pointed at the posterior end with the arrowhead-shaped abdomen.
Termites belong in the Order: Isoptera with about 4000 estimated species. There are more than 2600 described species of termites since their first occurrence (based on fossil evidence) on the Earth before 140 million years from today. Sometimes, the termites are called as ‘white ants’ because of the typical colour of their body. In addition, the termite bodies are soft, and they do not have a distinct waist. Therefore, the body profile of termites appears cylindrical with a more straight stature than a pointed or rounded one. Their habitats can be either soil or wood and the colonies consist of different castes depending on the size of the individual. Nest workers, foragers, and soldiers. Both male and female termites can fall into any category. Nest workers care for the eggs and make the nest by chewing the wood in case of a wooden habitat. Foragers are responsible for finding food while the soldiers are always guarding the home against attacks because there are frequent attacks by ants on the termite colonies. Termites develop two pairs of wings when they get old; those are equal in length, and the shape is more or less rounded. Their antennae are short and straight without bends. When there is a swarm of termites, wood and timber in the inhabited place could be concluded as destructed due to their high preference for cellulose as food.
What is the difference between Flying Ants and Termites?
• Flying ants are hymenopterans while termites are isopterans.
• Flying ants have a distinct waist with an arrow-like body profile, whereas termites have a straight or cylindrical body without a distinct waist.
• Termites have equally long pair of wings while the forewings are longer than hind wings in termites.
• Antennae are bent like an elbow in flying ants but not in termites.
• Termites are specialized to feed on wood while flying ants are generalized feeders.
• The legs are longer in flying ants than in termites.