What Bugs Look Like Flying Termites?

What Bugs Look Like Flying Termites?

Flying termites (order Isoptera), also known as alates, are small yellow-brown insects with smoky gray or brown wings. They are around ¼ to ⅜ inches long and are the primary reproductive members of termite species. 

If you see alates in your home, there could be a greater infestation within your walls or somewhere you’ve yet to notice. Calling in professionals, like our experts at Moxie Pest Control, can help get them back under control. 

However, not all flying insects are termites, so how can you identify whether you have a termite infestation? How do you know when you’re looking at ants, lacewings, beetles, or another kind of pest rather than a termite that could be eating through your home’s wooden structures? 

Here’s what you need to know.

WHAT DO FLYING TERMITES LOOK LIKE? 

Flying termites are ¼–¾ inches long. They are normally yellowish or brown, but they have smoky gray or brown wings. Termite alates have straight antennae. They have chubby waists that don’t pinch in, and they have four wings of the same size that are longer than their bodies. The wings have veins that may be apparent if you get close enough. 

Termites have soft bodies, even when winged. They’re also social insects, so you may see multiple winged insects together (or groups of nonwinged and winged insects in the same colony).

There are several kinds of termites, such as drywood or subterranean termites. Still, they largely look the same other than a few minor differences:

  1. Subterranean termites (Rhinotermitidae family) have smoky wings with two primary veins. They have square or rectangular cells on their wings.
  2. Drywood termites (Kalotermitidae family) have three heavy veins on their wings. Their wings have trapezoidal cells. 
  3. Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki) have hairy wings, setting them apart from other species. 

Most termites are yellow, white, gray, or brown in color, though they may also be black. 

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Flying termites (and termites in general) live in different places depending on the species. Subterranean species lay eggs in soil but may live in dry woods, while drywood termites live and nest in dry wood, as the name suggests. 

HOW DO THEY ACT?

Subterranean termites build tubes or tunnels made of soil, saliva, and wood. You may see these structures running up the side of a home’s foundation, for example. The tubes help keep the termites sheltered in a moist environment as they travel in and out of the nest.

Drywood termites nest in the wood and may not be easily identified since they can live within the walls of homes with no outward signs. 

NOTABLE INFORMATION

Flying termites are not necessarily the only reproductive termites. In fact, secondary reproductive termites may not be winged at all.

WHAT ARE WINGED BUGS THAT LOOK LIKE FLYING TERMITES?

There are several winged insects that look like termites. Some of them can be just as damaging to your property, but many are not. Still, if there is an infestation of any insects, it’s a good time to look into pest control services for proper identification and elimination.

WINGED ANTS

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? 

Winged ants (Formicidae formica) have narrow, pinched-in waists. They also have elbowed antennae and wings of unequal sizes. Usually, their wings are uneven in size with their long forewings covering their shorter hind wings. 

Winged ants are typically dark brown or black. 

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Winged ants usually live outside. If you find them inside, it’s likely that they came in through an open window or door. 

Colonies are usually located within trees, roofing, or hills.

HOW DO THEY ACT?

Winged ants tend to gather up near high places as they look for their mates, so you may find them near ceilings or on high beams. 

Outside, they may come out after recent rain storms.

NOTABLE INFORMATION

Flying ant day is a unique day when the queens come out of the nests to find a male to “marry.” They fly around to find a mate, mate, and then drop their wings. It’s possible to see swarms of flying ants on flying ant day.

 

CARPENTER ANTS 

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? 

Winged carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are between 1⁄4 and ⅝ inches long. They usually have a red or black-and-red color with darker horizontal stripes on the abdomen. Queens and males can develop wings. 

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Carpenter ants nest in wood. They chew it with their mandibles and make tunnels where their colonies can live. Through these actions, they often damage wooden structures.

It’s possible to find carpenter ants living in your walls if you have a problem with dampness. For example, if there is a leaking pipe, then the wood around it may start to decay. Carpenter ants will take advantage of this kind of habitat and create their colonies there. 

HOW DO THEY ACT?

Carpenter ants live together in colonies. They have workers without wings, males with wings, and queens with wings. 

Carpenter ants usually have more than one nesting site, so you may find parent colonies as well as satellite colonies around your home or outside in dead or decaying wood.

NOTABLE INFORMATION

You’re most likely to see these ants from late fall until the spring. If you have wet or decaying wood and see a flying insect, then it could be a carpenter ant. 

 

POWDERPOST BEETLES

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? 

Powderpost beetles (Bostrichidae family) are a kind of wood-boring beetle. They are between ⅛ and ¾ inches long and reddish black in appearance. They have six legs and ridged antennae. 

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Powderpost beetles live in unfinished woods. As larvae, they bore into the wood and emerge as adults in the spring, summer, or late winter months. Some will make their homes in or around windowsills or other kinds of damaged wood.

HOW DO THEY ACT?

These beetles make their homes in small holes, some as tiny as a pinhead. They live inside that hole until they grow into adults, which can take anywhere from one to five years. 

NOTABLE INFORMATION

Powderpost beetles only infest hardwoods, so if you have a softwood infestation, the cause is unlikely to be these beetles. 

You may notice an infestation because the beetles will make small burrowing holes. Those holes will sometimes have “powder,” or wood dust, around them. That dust comes from the space that the beetle has burrowed into and kicked out behind it.

 

MAYFLIES

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? 

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera order) are winged flies that may be called by other names, such as dayflies, flyfish, shadflies, and drakes. Mayflies aren’t all the same species, so think of the name as a nickname rather than as an identifier for a specific breed. 

Despite being made up of varying species, all mayflies look similar—they have brush-like antennae that are very short. They also have compound eyes. 

Usually, they have one larger set of wings as well as a secondary, rounded pair. Some species have wings like butterflies. 

Adult mayflies may also have threadlike tails. These tails look like hairs and may stick out as long as (or longer than) the body.

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Mayflies often live near water, so you’ll see them close to lakes or ponds. They can clog gutters or be on roadways. They give off a decay-like smell sometimes, too. They don’t typically come inside homes. 

HOW DO THEY ACT?

Winged mayflies have mouthparts and digestive tracts, but they don’t work. That means that they don’t feed at all. Adult mayflies typically live for only a few hours. Once they have reproduced, they exert all of their energy and die.

NOTABLE INFORMATION

Mayflies are normally most prominent in the summer months. They’re most likely to be found around freshwater, but some species will live in estuaries or brackish water.

 

GREEN LACEWINGS

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? 

Green lacewings (Chrysoperla spp.) are light green when they’re adults. They have long wings—up to ¾ inches long—with veins. Green lacewings may have a dark line running down the side of the head. 

Green lacewings also have pale stripes on the top of the body (C. carnea) or may have red genae (the part of the head below eye level) (C. rufilabris).

There are many variations between species, but most appear generally green with long, lace-like, nearly transparent wings.

WHERE DO THEY LIVE? 

Green lacewings live all around the world in temperate, tropical, and swampy areas. They don’t typically come inside homes. 

HOW DO THEY ACT?

Adults usually eat honeydew, nectar, and pollen. Some species are predatory and will eat mites, mealybugs, small caterpillars, insect eggs, etc., but they generally don’t bother humans.

NOTABLE INFORMATION

Most green lacewings come out in the spring since larvae spend time in cocoons in the winter. 

They’re most likely to be “flying solo” because lacewings are solitary unless trying to mate. Interestingly, they make noise to attract a mate. Instead of vibrating their legs or wings, they vibrate their abdomens to attract a member of the opposite sex.  

GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS AND GET RID OF TERMITES

If you have termites in your home or there are flying pests that you want to get rid of, give our pest control experts a call. We’ll help identify the pests and aid you in reclaiming your peace of mind. 

At Moxie Pest Control, we’re committed to helping our neighbors have comfortable homes where they can relax without worrying about insects. We’re here to help—get your free quote today.


SOURCES


AUTHOR BIO

Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!

Share this post: