Both ants and termites in Atlanta, GA swarm, and both are winged, and thus it's easy to mix them up. However there are a couple of key differences:
- One of the biggest indicators is the color: ants are usually black or very dark, and termites are lighter: brown or a cream color. A quick color check may be able to tell you immediately.
- Ants have narrow waists with a clear separation between the abdomen and the thorax. The waist will appear constricted. Termites have bodies shaped closer to perfect ovals, with more clear constrictions visible.
- Termite wings are of equal size and length, while the wings of ants are unequal: their hind wings are shorter, with a longer front wing.
- Ant antennae are bent and longer, while termite antennae are short and straight.
- You can also easily tell the difference between the two by what they eat. If the pests you see are going after food in your house, they are ants; ants will eat almost anything. Termites eat only wood, including paper products.
Keep in mind that several kinds of ants are active in Georgia: Carpenter Ants, House Ants, Argentine Ants, and Fire Ants can all be found. Generally, ants are most active at night during spring or fall when the weather is more mild. They are often seen foraging for food.
Likewise, there are three main species of termites in Georgia: the Eastern Subterranean Termites, Formosan Subterranean Termites, and West Indian Powderpost Termites. Termites generally swarm on warm days after rainfall. They may also swarm in a heated building during winter. Different species can swarm year round however, so it's important to check regularly.
It can be dangerous to disturb a nest of termites or a colony of ants, particularly fire ants. Find a local Atlanta pest control professional to help you dispose of large colonies, and to prevent further colonies from developing.