University of Maryland Extension

Ant vs Termite

termite and ant

Termite swarmer on left, ant on right

How do I tell the difference between a winged ant and a termite?

Flying ants may be distinguished from termites by the following:

Ants:

  • Elbowed antennae.
  • Front wings longer than hind wings, tinted brown.
  • Pinched or "wasp-waist".
  • Body black, brown or reddish.

Termites:

  • Straight antennae.
  • Front and hind wings similar in shape and or equal length, pale, translucent.
  • Body extends straight back from head, does not have pinched or "wasp-waist".
  • Body blackish-brown to black.

diagram of termite and an ant

Diagram courtesy of USDA Forest Service Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

 

flying ant termite/ant
Flying ant (notice the pinched waist) (left); Termite swarmer versus a flying ant (right)

 

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.