University of Maryland Extension

Termite Identification

Carolyn Puckett

Yikes!  Are those termites?

This is the alarmed reaction any homeowner might have when seeing small black flying insects swarming in the house.  However, those critters might be flying ants instead of termites.  How do you tell?

Look for the following characteristics:                  



Elbowed antennae

Antennae not elbowed

Two pairs of wings of unequal length

Two pairs of wings of equal length

Thin waist

Thick waist

And what if they are termites?  Termites can be brought under control by either creating a pesticide barrier or by using termite baits.  For information about these treatments see “Termites:  Prevention, Detection, Control” at

For more information on identifying termites, see

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