Flying ants and flying termites are frequently mistaken for each other. Since both insects swarm so that they can reproduce (talk about speed dating!), it’s understandable. One usually doesn’t want to take the time to care if they are “reproducing” in the middle of your
back-porch barbeque. And, the matter of difference doesn’t really matter because, according to wisegeek.com, flying (or swarming) termites are: “weak fliers, do not bite, do not live long, and cannot eat wood”.
So how do you tell the difference? The most noticeable difference is that flying ants have 3 body sections, head, thorax, and abdomen. Flying termites only have 2, a head and a body.
Also, on a flying ant, the bottom pair of wings are shorter than the top, while on a flying termite, both pairs are the same length. And if you really want to be sure, a flying ant’s antennae curve inwards and have a ball at their tip (called a club) whereas the flying termite’s antennae point outwards with nothing at their tip.
What does matters is the direction they are swarming from if you encounter them near your home. If they are coming from the house, that could be a possible infestation and needs taking care of. If they are swarming onto the exterior, such as the roof, then it’s likely that the swarm has simply chosen your home as a rest stop. Lucky you.
If you aren’t so lucky and you’ve realized that there is a swarm living in your home, then you will need a licensed professional to get rid of the colony.