Flying ants or termites?

How do I tell the difference between flying/winged ants and flying/winged termites? I have what look like winged ants (black bodies with long wings) that have been congregating on the inside of a window sill in my home. There are numerous discarded wings along the floor too.
Any help is appreciated. Walter
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Walter Cohen wrote:

Do a search for both and you should find some good illustrations of their wing and body shapes. I had a similar problem last year and ours turned out to be the lesser evil of the two (ants).
It took about a month but we got rid of them last year, (as I look down I see a scout crossing the floor now, seems it is ant hunting season all over again.
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wrote:

in all seriousness, you probably didn't get rid of them as much as you endured their mating/migration/whatever season.
Ants taste like limes, termites taste like lemons.
.max
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I have the same problem with small carpenter ants. I have seen a few with wings. They are also around my windowsill. I purchased some of those Raid stakes they sell in the supermarket and put a few around outside my house. They seem to have subsided somewhat. I followed everyones advice with avoiding wet/damp spots around outside of house like gutters, leaves, old wood.
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I've had good success with Combat ant killing gel.
W
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http://images.google.com/images?q=flying+ants+or+termites+pictures&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1
Google is your friend!
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Are they large, Carpenter ants can do alot of damage, they dont spread like termites but they ruin wood like termites.
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No, not large at all (without their wings), and they certainly are NOT carpenter ants as I already have those! W
wrote:

Are they large, Carpenter ants can do alot of damage, they dont spread like termites but they ruin wood like termites.
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Walter Cohen wrote:

They tend to infest already damaged wood - damp, rotted, earlier infested by termites. We had loads of them in/around our Florida condo, but never found them in sound wood. Cleaning up and making repairs worked far better than poison.
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No, they spread faster than termites. The OP is most likely seeing carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants, IME, run straight for the highest (and warmest) point in the house, nest there and eat their way down.
Subterranean termites are not nearly so ambitious. They tend to remain close to the ground and eat their way up, usually damaging wooden foundation structure.
The problem with both is that not seeing them <> not having them.
The big problem with eradicating carpenter ants is that the PCO rarely, if ever, treats the highest point of the structure where the first nest is usually established.
They detect and avoid the applied pesticide so the homeowner doesn't see them and thinks they're "cured".
The typical PCO very often just stresses the colony so it splits into 2 ensuring the potential of future business. Not necessarily by ill intent, just ignorance. -----
- gpsman
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Actually, after seeing pictures of both and grabbing a few specimens it looks like swarming termites. They have 4 exact same length wings, straight abdomen (not thin like ant), straight antennae.
Oh well, time to get to work (actually time to get a professional out here).
W
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They're not hard to tell apart.

Seeing "swarms" is not evidence of infestation. Stick with your PCO and make them show you mud tunnels if they suggest treatment.
And, mud tunnels alone are not "proof" of infestation. They could be old and/or abandoned and/or previously treated by a former owner. -----
- gpsman
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gpsman wrote:

"damp wood" termites don't build them. Termites avoid daylight, the purpose of building tubes.

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gpsman wrote: ...

Seeing swarms may not be absolutely conclusive, but _inside_ as OP says it's pretty doggone likely to indicate a fairly sizable infestation (amhikt :( ).
Check for pinholes in the sheetrock around the area you see them congregating in--there's a good chance they are in the walls behind/around the windows and they will burrow out through the sheetrock to swarm (again, amhikt)...
There undoubtedly are tunnels, but they may be in places you can't get to to find them (like the insides of block walls, etc.).
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Walter Cohen wrote:

I had same problem years ago. They were flying ants. Flying ants look like ants whereas termites have a broad waist vs. ants which are segmented. I had to spray area in garage floor where the ants were coming from.
Next door neighbor had termites and I got a good look at them as they were infesting wood near my house. I put stakes around house and they never came in. Neighbor, however, had wood damage and they had to bait to kill the colony which was outside.
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Lucky you. I put steaks around the house and a lot of people show up.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

You could use a stake on the strangers who want your raw steaks, but it won't help.
Here's a tip that could save your life: This business about a wooden stake through the heart of a vampire is pure Hollywood bullshit!
If you read Bram Stoker's novel, you'll find the implement used to dispatch a vampire is a BOWIE KNIFE, not some pissant tent peg.
I live in Texas. We have a lot of Bowie knives and damn few vampires.
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Proof enough for me.
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Easy job, termite antennae look like a string of beads (filoform) and are straight Ant antennae have a bend like a pipe elbow.
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