7 Winged Bugs that Look like Flying Termites But Aren’t

Today, we’ll look at common bugs that look like flying termites but aren’t.

Signs of termites around homes can be alarming for a good reason; they’re difficult to deal with and could signal the presence of a colony nearby.

Flying termites are among the clear signs of termite presence. When this is noticed, it’s necessary to call for professional attention.

Bugs that Look like Flying Termites

However, there might be mixed signals caused by misidentification. In this case, other flying bugs may be assumed to be termites. Quite a several bugs fall into this category.

If you’re wondering what they are, you only need to read on for these basic features possessed.

  • Why Termites Fly

Among the steps necessary for adequately identifying flying termites is the need to understand why they fly.

Whenever you notice a termite swarm, it’s a reproductive ritual when adult reproductive termites leave their colonies under the right conditions to mate and establish their territories.

This mostly happens in spring when the weather is warm. They shed their wings when they land and proceed to procreate. Now many other bugs might look similar to flying termites.

However, close observation will reveal what you’re dealing with.

Identifying Flying Termites

Before proceeding, one must first understand the uniqueness of flying termites. In other words, understanding what flying termites look like is essential.

First off, swarmers (as they’re called) are dark brown and tend to have wings that extend beyond their bodies.

Adults measure approximately three-eighths inch long. Winged termites have straight waists. They also possess straight antennae and mostly emerge during high humidity and rainfall.

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It’s important to note that not all termites fly. The stage of their lifecycle determines when they do.

Flying and Non-Flying Bugs that Look like Termites

Whether flying or not, some bugs may be mistaken for termites due to basic features.

These include ants, carpenter bees, powderpost beetles, mayflies, and green lacewing. Now, these flying termite look-alikes may not necessarily be as destructive.

However, they allow for better assessment and identification of a termite symptom. Such close observations help determine whether they’re termites or not.

Let’s discuss each of these to find out the similarities and differences.

i. Ants

Ants are among bugs that look like flying termites. Multiple ant varieties fly, such as carpenter ants and acrobat ants.

So, what are the points of similarities and differences between these ant species and termites? Let’s take a look at each ant species.

ii. Carpenter Ants

Like flying termites, carpenter ants also swarm during mating season.

This is coupled with the fact that they also damage wood like termites. Apart from these two similarities, there isn’t much resemblance between carpenter ants and flying termites.

As opposed to the broad thorax possessed by flying termites, carpenter ants tend to have a narrow thorax.

While carpenter ants leave behind heaps of shredded wood, termites consume such wood and only leave the fecal matter as tiny pellets.

As stated earlier, termites have twice as long as their body has long wings. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, tend to have wings only as long as their body.

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Carpenter ants possess bent antennae, while those of flying termites are straight.

iii. Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are also compared to flying termites due to some shared similarities.

Like termites, these ants nest in wood. Sometimes, acrobat ants take over wood galleries created by termites. That is as far as the similarities go.

Differences between the two include a heart-shaped abdomen for acrobat ants while those of flying termites are straight. Acrobat ant antennae tend to be bent, unlike those for termites, which are linear.

You can tell apart acrobat ants from termites from their narrow middle with a larger head and behind.

iv. Carpenter Bees

The only similarity between carpenter bees and flying termites is the tunnel created by these insects. When observed, they look like kick-out holes created by termites.

This has often been confused with termite presence and activity.

There are more differences than similarities between carpenter bees and flying termites. Examples include body length. Carpenter bees measure about an inch long, while termites are around ¼ to ½ inch long.

Flying termites mostly live in colonies, unlike carpenter bees that live alone.

v. Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles are also destructive to structures as they feed on wood. When it comes to physical characteristics, there are fewer similarities as compared to observable differences.

These beetles have classic beetle-shaped bodies, while those of flying termites are straight.

Powderpost beetles are primarily found in unfinished wood. Termites will readily do damage to both finished and unfinished wood.

You’ll find piles of fine wood powder beneath holes used by powderpost beetles. In the case of termites, fecal matter in the form of pellets is seen near holes.

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vi. Mayflies

Mayflies are often confused for flying termites, especially when they fly.

However, when stationary, it’s pretty clear that these are nothing similar to flying termites. Multiple factors affect people’s perception of the similarity between the two insects.

First, these tend to be most active at the same time of the year. In other words, you’ll find mayflies during the spring and summer months.

This is the same time drywood termite alates tend to emerge. Swarms of mayflies are also observed. This is much similar to what goes on with flying termites.

Mayflies are also most common after the rains. Another thing you may observe is the attraction to light. Both mayflies and flying termites tend to be attracted to light.

A close inspection is necessary to determine or identify what you’re dealing with.

vii. Green Lacewing

Green lacewings are considered beneficial bugs due to their ability to keep specific pest issues in check.

Like flying termites, green lacewings also swarm after emerging from their cocoons as adults. However, different points of comparison help differentiate between flying termites and green lacewings.

These include the antennae, abdomen shape, color, wings, and size. For better identification, a closer look at each point is needed.

There you have it! These are among common bugs that look like flying termites. While some have multiple points of similarities, others only share one or two.