In this article, we’ll discuss several common types of bugs that look like termites. We’ll also cover Carpenter bees, Powderpost beetles, and Acrobat bugs. We will also touch on the features that distinguish termites from others.
What are the difference between termites and bugs? Termites are a type of insect that lives in trees, and some other types of insects look like them, too. For example, bugs build their nests in trees, and carpenter bugs live in the bark of trees. Both termites and bugs have similar antennae, and they are both brown and black in color. In addition, termites and bugs are related; a swarming termite is eight inches or 20.3 cm long.
Termites are bugs with soft bodies and straight antennae. Some species have wings. Termites come in many different colors, and the most common is the Eastern Subterranean Termite. Regardless of where you see these insects, you should take action as soon as you notice them. While they may not look like termites, their presence can indicate a serious infestation. The damage caused by hidden termite colonies can run into the thousands of dollars before you discover them.
1. Carpenter Bees
If you’re wondering if you should be concerned about termites, you might be mistaken about the appearance of carpenter bees. These bees are large and shiny, about one-half inch long. They’re black with orange or yellow parts on their thorax and abdomen. They have long, pointed wings that fan out in a delta shape. While the larger, fuzzy bees look like termites, the smaller carpenters are completely black and shiny.
Despite looking like termites, carpenter bees don’t sting humans. Male carpenter bees don’t have stingers, and female bees only sting if directly threatened. They’re not dangerous, and the stings they do give are primarily for defense. Fortunately, carpenter bees can be quite useful in finding nests and digging holes for their larvae.
2. Acrobat Bugs
Acrobat bugs are tiny ant species with heart-shaped abdomens and long wings. They typically nest in wall voids around window frames and doors, where they feed on decaying wood. These bugs will also invade decaying wood for insulation. While they do not infest buildings, they are dangerous to human health. Because they eat decaying wood, they must be controlled to prevent future infestations.
There are more than 420 species of Acrobat bugs, which are similar to fire bugs except that they don’t sting much. In fact, their stinger looks like a spatula and is not visible. Their gaster is carried over the rest of the body and bent forward over the thorax. Their abdomen is heart-shaped and dark. When in a nest, they feed on wood scraps, and this activity may lead a homeowner to believe that they are experiencing an active termite infestation.
There are some key differences between flying termites and mayflies, but you may be surprised to learn that both insects are common in the same areas. While termites have large, dark, and long wings, mayflies have short, flat antennae and a long, thin tail behind their abdomen. While they are similar in appearance, mayflies are completely harmless and do not spread disease. These small insects can be easily mistaken for flying termites, but it is best to avoid them in your home.
While they are not dangerous to humans, their presence near light sources can be a nuisance. They form massive swarms around light fixtures, which may affect your visibility. However, they won’t sting you. In fact, mayflies are more of a nuisance than a threat.
4. Powderpost Beetles
If you’ve ever noticed wood stains and crumbling walls, you’ve probably been infected by powderpost beetles. Although they look like termites, this pest is actually not related to them. They live in the ground, and bore into wood products such as flooring, bed frames, and wood trim. Moreover, these insects are attracted to outdoor lighting, which makes them a prime candidate for your home’s woodwork. However, they can cause a considerable amount of damage if you don’t spot them quickly.
While drywood termites produce mud and coarse sawdust, powderpost beetles leave a white, flour-like residue instead. They usually leave behind small holes and burrow into wood, reducing it to a powdery flour. Unlike termites, they don’t produce fecal pellets, so you can easily spot them by inspecting wood samples. If you’re unsure if you have a powderpost beetle infestation, call a pest controller as doing this yourself may backfire.
The adult of a powderpost beetle looks similar to that of a termite, though they aren’t the same. These pests are active at night, although some species are attracted to light. They usually attack soft woods such as pine and Douglas fir. In addition to destroying wood, they also destroy furniture, cabinetry, and other wooden structures. They lay their eggs inside the wood from which they emerged. When the larvae feed, they follow the grain of the wood, leaving behind a fine powder or pellets.
5. Carpenter Ants
Although both termites and carpenter ants attack wood, they are very different from one another. Both insects produce swarmers when their nests are mature. Swarmers are winged reproductives that leave the nest and look for a new location to make their home. However, the termites pose a much larger threat to wood. They also have white wings as opposed to yellowish wings. Therefore, identifying a termite swarm can be challenging.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not attack humans, although they may sometimes sting. Their sharp jaws allow them to inject formic acid. While their bites can be unpleasant, the sting is not fatal. Unlike bull-dog ants, these ants do not bite in large numbers. Carpenter ants prefer moist woods, but do nest around water leaks as well. Unless you are experiencing signs of carpenter ant activity, the ant population is unlikely to affect you unless it gets too big.
In addition to swarming, carpenter ants can also be seen in wood structures. They often live on baseboards or window sills. They swarm when mating time approaches. Although they may look similar, the wings, antennae, and body shape of flying termites and carpenter ants differ significantly.
You can read also this article about signs of termites in drywall.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do you tell if a bug is a termite?
One of the easiest ways to identify a termite infestation is to listen for a buzzing noise or vibration inside a wooden structure. Soldier termites, for example, are sensitive to noises and vibrations, as they leave the nest in order to mate and set up a new colony. Other termite species are nocturnal, leaving the nest during the day, and some may fly only after rain.
Termites are difficult to identify because they are often hidden underground or directly in the wood itself. The best places to look for them are attics, crawl spaces, basements, and wall cavities. Termite populations typically only become visible after they have multiplied enough to produce swarmers. While this is true for most of the time, termites may have other signs, including shelter tubes.
Termites look similar to ants, but are distinguished by their different body parts. While ants have a narrow waist section, termites’ front wings are longer than the hind wings, and their abdomens are larger than their hind wings. They can also be distinguished by the shape of their wings, which are also distinct from ants. While termites do not cause immediate damage, they are worth seeking professional help if you see any.
What bugs look like winged termites?
If you see flying ants in the yard, you’re probably looking at a winged termite. Their wings are about one-third to one-half of their body length, and the tips are completely rounded. In contrast, ants’ wings have sharp corners and are unequal in length. In addition, flying termites don’t have pinched waists. They are much smaller than ants.
Other insects that can pass for winged termites include carpenter ants, flying ants, and acrobat ants. While they’re both wood-eating insects, carpenter ants can be confused with them because they look similar. They have the same black and brown color scheme and are about the same size. However, carpenter ants don’t have wings, but do have two sets of them. Powderpost beetles are also very similar to winged termites, and they can even look like them when they’re stationary.
Mayflies and flying termites are different in appearance. While most of the latter fly during the day, mayflies are more active during the rainy season. Their wings are visible when they’re not flying, but their front wings are longer than the rear ones. Their wings also have two sets of legs, whereas those of flying termites are longer and thinner. While many flying insects have similar looks and sizes, they do not spread disease.
What do termites look like to naked eye?
The workers of the colony make up the majority of termites. They are visible when you break open the nest. Their soft pale brown bodies have no wings or eyes. Their mouthparts are hard, which they use to chew wood. There are two castes, female and male. Young workers feed and groom the other castes. Older workers forage for food, carrying it back to the nest.
If you have a colony of flying termites, you’ll see them near outside lights, because they’re attacked by light. They’ll fly together and will eventually become kings of new colonies. Termites with winged wings will shed their wings once they land and begin their new colonies. There are three types of subterranean termites. These three types of termites are the most common.
While termites and ants are similar in appearance, they’re different in many ways. A few common traits can help you identify the right kind of termite. A straight waist, same-length wings and a head with a thin waist help you to distinguish the two species. Most termite species have one large wing and two smaller wings. Drywood termites are white or brown, while subterranean termites have two wings. While ants are black, swarmers are black.