The word “Ant “and “Termite” are used interchangeably by most of the people. Since both are small and cause more or less the same damage to your interiors, people tend to mistake one for the other. But in a hot and humid country like Malaysia, where the ant and termite infestation is more, people should have a clear idea about these pesky creatures so that the pest control companies can better manage their work.
What are Ants?
Ants are tiny creatures that are characterized by their antennae, eyes on both side of the head, slender waist and node like structure. They are generally dark in color depending on their species. Ants normally leave a scent trail while travelling to attract other ants. This is the main reason why ants are seen moving in a line.
Caste of ants
Worker Ants: This caste consists only of female ants that are generally small in size when compared to other castes. The members of this caste helps in maintaining the nest, looks after the younger ones, take care of the queen ant and search for food.
· Soldier Ants: This caste also consist of female ants but they are much larger when compared to worker ants. The ants in this caste have strong jaws and use it to cut and carry large objects. They even protect the colony.
· Flying Ants: Just as the name implies, these ants are capable of flying with two different sized wings. This caste also consist of all female ants. During summer, these ants fly from their nest to start a new colony. Once they build the nest, they clip off their wings and use it as a source of protein for their family.
· Winged Drone: This is the only male caste in the ant species. The main role of this caste is to reproduce. Once they mate with a female ant they die.
Signs of ant infestation
· Ants in exposed food: If your house is free of ants and suddenly you find ant in exposed food items and in your pets food bowl, it is a sure sign of ant infestation. Once found, keep all the food items either in refrigerator or air tight containers.
· Stray ants: If you find stray ants inside your house like bedroom and bathroom, it is a sign of a larger ant attack.
· Anthill: If you spot anthill in your house premises, then there is a chance that the ants might enter your house. In such a situation, it is better to destroy the ant hill by pouring dish soap over it.
What are termites?
Unlike ants, termites are white or creamy in color and are quite translucent in their appearance. Even though they have antennas like ants, their waist is thick. They feed on cellulose found in wood and plants. As such they tend to destroy paper and cardboard.
Castes of termites
· Soldier termite: This caste of termites consists of both male and females. They have large head with big jaws which are used to protect the colony. They are the first line of defense against attack and normally perish protecting their colony.
· Worker termite: Consisting of both male and female termites, they have the largest number of members within a colony. The termites of this caste are all-in-one and carry out a range of activities including mining and building.
· Winged termite: Winged termites are similarly to winged ants in that they fly and make new colony. They drop off their wings once they make new nest. The only difference is that both their wings are of equal length.
Signs of termite infestation
· Mud tunnels: Small mud tunnel outside your house on walls, pipes and concrete slabs are signs that termites have started infecting your home. These mud tunnels are built when the termites find it difficult to dig through the surface in search of food.
· Frass: Frass are fecal matters of termites that appear like sawdust. If you find these particles on the floor of window sill it is a sign that termites have started invading your house.
· Presence of wings: If you find small wings near window sills or cobweb, it is another indication that termites are infecting your house.
· Damaged wood: This is a sure sign of termite infestation. The infected wood produces a thud sound which shows that termites are working their way up.
Having a clear idea about ant and termite infestation not only help you in providing clear instruction to pest control professionals, but also helps you in taking necessary steps to control their infestation in the future.