Flying ants aren't a unique species, but rather they are individuals that are known as the "reproductives" of an ant colony. Most species of ants have these flying reproductives, which include both male and female individuals. They take flight in order to mate, gathering in massive clusters, then return to an existing nest or seek out a new one.
But during the winter, particularly in colder areas of the country, ants are not living and breeding in the open outdoors. So if flying ants are seen in the home in the winter, it is most likely that it is an ant that is living within the structure of your home, and, worse, it is very likely that there is a carpenter ant nest within the structure.
Some species of ants have winged worker ants, while other species do not. There can be thousands of winged ants in one established colony. All ant species live in colonies established by fertile females, or queens. Winged female ants and males typically swarm after a day of heavy rain in a particular season.
Although carpenter ants are among the largest ant species worldwide, size is not a reliable factor in carpenter ant identification because workers within a species vary in size. Carpenter ants are often mistaken for termite swarmers, particularly during swarms when winged male and female ants fly out of their colony to mate.
If you have seen these flying insects in your property, you can be fairly certain you have identified termites if you’ve also found discarded wings. Look for differences in body shape - The image below should help you identify important differences in body shape of termites and winged ants (termite is on the right, ant on the left):
Compare Flying Ants to Flying Termites Winged Termites Found in Home . Wood Treatment . Ants with Wings, Termites with Wings. Termites do indeed spread their species by swarming (sending winged reproductives out of the colony) but so do many species of ants.
Difference Between Flying Ants and Termites . Determining whether you have flying ants, or winged termites is important in how you treat the problem. Some flying winged ants resemble the winged-swarming termite. Here are some ways do identify the differences: While both species have four wings, termite wings are uniform in size.
Ant identification—Distinguishing ants from termites. Winged ants Winged ants have elbowed antennae, hind wings smaller than the front wings, and a thin waist that is constricted at the thorax. Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California ...
Ants that fly don’t represent any greater danger to you than your typical ant that crawls. If a species of ant doesn’t bite or sting, the alates of that species won’t bite or sting either. If the ant species bites, like a carpenter ant, the winged carpenter ants can still bite if they feel threatened.
To identify carpenter ants, first see if they’re black or brown, or a combination of black and orange, which carpenter ants can be. Additionally, try to estimate the size of your ants. Carpenter ants are generally small, only about 3/8 to ½ an inch long.