Am I Dealing with Black Termites?

April 13, 2021by

When spring is in the air, temperatures start warming up, and termites begin swarming to start a new colony. If you see these black termites swarming around your home, that means there is a well-established nest nearby. The swarming termites aren’t a good sign, but they aren’t as much of a concern as the possibly millions of termites nesting in the ground. 

That’s because termites attack your home almost invisibly, and can infest your home for years before you have a clue. Early detection and a professional termite treatment can reduce this serious threat to one of your largest investments. Subterranean termites build mud tubes that travel from the ground up into your property, where they can literally eat you out of house and home. Once termites take over, you may eventually see swarmers coming from holes in walls and ceiling, leaving you with a house full of black termites.

Carpenter Ants or Black Termites: Assessing the Damage

Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage in homes and businesses across the U. S. Termites need wood and other cellulose material to survive, so they often attack the framing of a house first. Because the wood in your home supplies a steady food resource, you may not know you have a termite problem until they’ve done significant damage. The damage to your home’s structural elements, floors, walls, and other areas is probably not covered by your homeowner’s insurance, either. 

But how can you be sure you’re dealing with black termites and not black ants or other flying insects? Knowing which pest has invaded your home is the first step for catching an infestation early. You can also check around your home to detect the warning signs of a termite infestation or call in a pest professional to help you be sure before things get out of hand. 

Here’s what to look for with termites: 

  • Mud tunnels that go up the piers in a crawl space or along concrete slabs.
  • Blisters and other damage on drywall, wood floors, and trim areas. 
  • To determine if there is damage behind a wall, baseboard, or other surfaces, tap the area lightly and listen for a hollow sound. 

Here’s what to look for with carpenter ants:

  • One of the most common signs of a carpenter ant infestation is seeing one of the ants. 
  • The workers are black and dark red and can be up ½ inch long. 
  • If you see holes with what looks like sawdust nearby, you probably have an established colony of black carpenter ants living in your home. 

You can learn more about swarmers and the difference between black termites with wings and flying ants for a better understanding of what you’re dealing with and how to proceed. 

Termite Holes

Black Swarming Termites With Wings or Carpenter Ants?

Subterranean termites infest homes in every U.S. state except Alaska, and depending on where you live, you could be at risk for different species. If you see black termites swarming, you are probably looking at subterranean termites nesting near your home. When you discover damage or find mud tubes and see pale white, dark brown, or black termites without wings, you likely have a subterranean termite infestation. 

But when the only signs you see are swarmers, it’s important to know the difference between ants and termites so you can get the right pest control treatment. Carpenter ants appear similar to swarming termites from a distance, but there are some identifiers to help you figure out what you’re dealing with. 

Black termites with wings have a straight waist, straight antennae, and wings that are equal in size. Flying black carpenter ants have pinched waists, bent antennae, and wings that are different sizes. You can also tell the difference by examining discarded wings. Carpenter ant wings have a dark tint and termite wings are pale and clear.

Whether you determine you have a termite infestation or a carpenter ant infestation, the next best step is scheduling a professional inspection to determine the appropriate pest control treatment.

Get a Free Termite Inspection Today

Now that you know how to determine if you’re dealing with black termites or black ants, you’ll need professional treatment. Call us to set up an inspection of your home and we’ll track down infestations of termites, carpenter ants, and other pests and get things under control. You can also schedule a free inspection online. 

Hi-Tech Termite Control provides termite and other pest treatments in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County.

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