Do termites look like fruit flies


Termites are very small and similar in size to ants, which often leads to confusion. There are also several different types of termites, which can make figuring out which control method to use challenging. In fact, knowing the key differences between ants and termites is a good starting point for identification. Knowing the types of termites you’re dealing with is the next key factor for professionals to determine.

Owing to their secretive nature, termites can be hard to detect, especially with an untrained eye. You are far more likely to spot the signs of termite damage before you spot termites themselves.

There are different types of termites, but there are some very destructive species that like warm, moist, areas. So, cities and areas like Miami, Atlanta, and Charleston can be affected by these species of termite.

As with any other pest, correct identification ensures the use of the most effective control methods and allows you to choose the most appropriate prevention steps to try and avoid problems in the future. You can discuss options such as chemical barriers or other methods to keep termites away.

Need help identifying termites? Call Ehrlich today at 1-800-837-5520 for advice and to schedule a FREE termite inspection of your home or business.

Think you have termites in your home?

Click here to set up an appointment to discuss our termite treatments.

What do termites look like?

Do termites really look like ants? Termite swarmers can look like flying ants, and they are often confused.

The difference between these two pests will greatly impact the type of service needed to control them in your property.

Often a suspected problem with termites, turns out to be a problem with carpenter ants or fire ants, because they look so similar.

Here’s how to establish the general differences in appearance and behavior between ants and termites:

Waist – Termites have a straight waist, while ants have a pinched waist.

Antennae – Termites have straight antennae while ants have bent antennae.

Wing Length – Termites wings are the same length while ants have wings of different length.

Look for discarded wings around window sills – Flying termites (also known as swarmers) are often confused with flying ants, because both their winged mating cycles occur during the springtime. However, flying ants do not shed their wings. If you have seen these flying insects in your property, you can be fairly certain you have identified termites if you’ve also found discarded wings.

Look for differences in body shape – The image below should help you identify important differences in body shape of termites and winged ants (termite is on the right, ant on the left):

Have you spotted termites in your home or workplace? As these insects are highly destructive, you should get professional advice and termite control from Ehrlich right away. Our termite control specialists know how to spot termite eggs, larvae and which types of termites might be causing the damage.

Why is identification so difficult?

Even armed with the above information, it may still be hard to make a correct identification using the naked eye. Bear in mind that termite swarmers are only about ¼ inch long – about the same size as a pencil eraser.

Identification is made even more difficult by the fact that termites often remain hidden away in properties for years without the owner’s knowledge. As already mentioned, the first indicator of a potential problem is usually visible evidence of termite damage.

Ehrlich’s termite species guide offers greater detail on what termites look like and how to recognize the common features between termite species.

What are the types of termites?

What kind of termites are you seeing in your home? Click here to find out.

Identifying termite species

All types of termites can cause damage to your home, but knowing a bit more about the different species of termites can help identify them more easily. Depending on where you are in the country can also determine the types of termites you may have to contend with.

The location of your property as well as its component structure will both have an impact on the termite species, which you may be at risk of.

Generally speaking, incidence of termite infestation is much higher in the southeastern states, such as Florida, and the west coast states, such as California, and gradually decreases the further north you travel in the country.

Here are some of the most common termite species found in the U.S. Subterranean termites are one of the most common species found throughout the U.S.

The top 3 most invasive species of this type, include the Eastern subterranean, Western subterranean and the Formosan subterranean termites.

Eastern subterranean termites are the most prevalent and can be found on the east coast in states like Georgia and as far west as Utah. Western subterranean termites are mostly found along the west coast and inland through to Nevada.

Formosan termites – are a particularly serious type of subterranean termite, but are not as common. Formosan subterranean termites are found primarily in Louisiana, Mississippi, along the Gulf coast.

Drywood termites – can also be found in the US, sometimes nearer to the coast although they don’t need moisture to survive. They are prevalent along the gulf coast as well as on the west coast in California.

Dampwood termites – live in damp and rotting wood and mulch, and can often be found near open water. They can enter your home through wood that meets damp soil.

Termites with wings

The primary function of termites with wings, or swarmers, is to reproduce and generate new colonies. They have two wing pairs, and the presence of these insects indoors signifies that a building is likely infested. Flying termites can commonly be found swarming around window sills or exterior lighting because light attracts them.

These insects will turn into the queens and kings of new colonies. Termites with wings depart from their nests and fly when the conditions are appropriate. The males and females will swarm together in the air. After they land, the swarmers will shed their wings, mate, and start new colonies.

Control and prevention of termites after identification

Once correct identification is made, the most effective solution plan can be offered to quickly bring the problem under control. Ehrlich offers conventional termite treatment which uses liquid termiticide treatment and other methods include the use of monitoring and baiting systems.

Identifying termites from their damage

At Ehrlich, we confirm the invading termite species through a visual identification rather than just looking at the evidence of the damage to your building and its location.

However, some of the points below could be of help to you, when checking your building for signs of activity:

Subterranean termites begin their feeding process (damage) from the ground up and typically enter a building through the sub-structure. Homes with crawl spaces are at great risk. It is here you should look for evidence of damaged wood and mud tubes. Wood damaged by this particular species develops “galleries” (hollow tunnels), which run along the grain of the wood.

Drywood termites typically enter structures near the roof line or other exposed wood to begin building a colony. Inspect your attic for evidence of damaged wood. Look for tiny holes in the wood with evidence of frass collecting nearby. Probing the wood can also expose galleries as well.

Having experienced a termite infestation, most people will be eager to ensure they do not have the same problem in the future. Ehrlich can give you simple steps you can take to “termite-proof” your home or business and the prevention plans can offer further help.

If you suspect you have termites, call us today at 1-800-837-5520 or contact us online to arrange a FREE termite inspection for your home or business.

3 Signs You Should Be Worried about Fruit Flies in Your Home

1. Fruit Flies in Drains

Huddling together in swarms, these small flies may include fruit flies and black sewage flies (also known as drain flies). Fruit flies in drains hover near drain covers found in your toilets at home as they feed on the organic waste materials found in these drains. If you live in a multi-level high rise building, toilet pipes and drains are connecting throughout, including that of your upstairs and downstairs neighbours.

Why should you be worried? Your toilet drain cover provides a good and steady source of food and shelter for these swarms of small flies! Besides posing as a nuisance for users in your home toilets, these small flies will land on almost everywhere and on anything to feed on. Especially when you find them resting on your bath towels and toothbrushes, they get very annoying and unhygienic.

2. Fruit Flies in the Kitchen

The kitchen at home is a place where meal preparations happen for the whole family. You also store many eating utensils, drinking bottles and containers in the kitchen. It is imperative that this area at home should be kept clean, tidy and hygienic.

Why should you be worried? Fruit flies in the kitchen disturb your food preparation process and pose health risks to humans should they land on your food. Clean utensils which have been washed and put aside are actually great attractants for fruit flies to feed on its microorganisms. Once again, this promotes unhygienic bacteria growth within the kitchen.

Fruit Flies… Whenever and Wherever You Eat

Sitting down at the breakfast table, you open up the new loaf of white bread to help yourself a slice. Very soon, you find yourself suddenly busy swatting away fruit flies swarming up to you. Oh my! Fruit flies! Where do they come from? Did you know? Fruit flies are particularly attracted to fermenting yeast in fruits and bread. Your white bread is an excellent attractant for them to feed on.

Why should you be worried? While it can be easy to swat these small flies away and prevent them from landing onto your breakfast, you should be worried because it is unusual to have swarms of fruit flies coming up to you like this! If you want to eat in peace, you should start to find out if you are experiencing a fruit fly infestation somewhere in the house.

Know more about these small flying pests today to better understand what attracts fruit flies and where do they come from?

  • The Female fruit fly grows larger than Male fruit fly
  • Fruit fly has red eyes
  • Its hairy body is a carrier of bacteria which can be harmful to humans
  • Fruit fly loves decaying food and vegetables, garbage, fruits and kitchen utensils
  • It reproduces very quickly, the eggs hatching into larvae after several days; with the adult insect emerging just after 4 days! Therefore an infestation can get out of hand very fast.

Preventing fruit flies – Good housekeeping and healthy hygiene habits are definitely helpful in preventing fruit flies from nesting in your home. Always cover up food, tie up garbage bags and dispose of them before turning in for the night. Keep table tops clean and wipe away food spills and crumbs diligently.

However challenges such as fruit flies in drains can be tough because of the high usage in toilets when you shower every day. Built up of organic materials happens down the connecting pipes in the building as well.

What kills fruit flies on contact? Common small flies can be better controlled now with enhanced formulation with Rentokil’s Foam Blitz Solution. This foaming technique works well even to reach difficult spots where adult fruit flies and their larvae could be hiding in. Foam sticks on the contact surface and these small flies are killed on contact. This formulation contains bacteria that can eat up organic matters, efficiently helping to reduce and eliminate food sources for these fruit flies.

For Your Business- A technique ideal for heavy food preparation business environment such as canteens, central kitchen and restaurants, foaming is able to control small flies effectively with higher efficacy.

Termites and gnats

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • SMS
  • Email

I just got an interesting email from a friend who is going to build a home this summer. She asked what the best method to prevent termites from infesting the house would be.

I suggested that she has all the wood that will be in the home as studs, flooring or anything else, be treated with a sodium borate. BoraCare is very good. This will prevent any wood eating insects from infesting the wood for many years.

Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund

In New Zealand, this was required in all new homes many years ago and now they don’t even have a termite industry. This is so much better than treating the soil with a termiticide before you pour the slab as the termiticide will eventually break down and termites can become a problem.

Also, that will do nothing to prevent wood boring beetles, carpenter ants or carpenter bees. A sodium borate will prevent all of those insects. If anyone is building a home, you may want to consider this. You can also treat any exposed, unfinished wood in your house now. You do not need an exterminator to apply BoraCare. You can paint it on or spray it on yourself.

I have also been getting some calls about gnats. What is a gnat? Gnats are small flies that belong to several species. There are several types of gnats, including fruit flies, hump-backed flies, moth flies and fungus gnats, that will get into homes.

Fruit flies

Fruit flies are usually found in the kitchen where they feed and breed on food spilled in out of the way places such as behind or under appliances or similar areas.

These small flies have distinctive red eyes, which you can see with a hand lens. They are tan or brown in color and about 1/8-inches long. They are also known as pomace flies and vinegar flies.

They can be serious pests when found in food-handling establishments as they breed in and feed on fruits, vegetables and any moist, decaying organic material. They have been known to cause intestinal problems and diarrhea when fruit containing their larvae are eaten. They will also breed in discarded fruit juice and soft drink cans and in unsecured bottles of wine.

They are very prolific as the female can lay about 500 eggs, which will hatch and reach adulthood in as little as eight days.

In your home, you can control fruit flies by eliminating all breeding material. They are attracted to vinegar, so put some drops on duct tape or glue boards. Or you can just fill a small paper cup with vinegar and the flies will dive in.

Moth flies

Moth flies are small flies with hairy wings that resemble small moths. They are usually found in the bathroom. They will breed in the gunk buildup in drains and will often be found in the tub, on shower curtains or the wall. They are poor fliers and seem to just hop around.

The larvae live in gelatinous material in sink and floor drain traps, in sewer treatment plants and in septic tanks. They will also breed in damp crawl spaces under a house.

In a commercial building, you can put duct tape sticky side down on drains to see which ones they are breeding in. You need to keep your drains clean to control these flies as they have a very short life cycle. They can go from egg to adult in a little over a week in some areas.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are very small flies with long legs and long antennae and distinctly patterned wings. They are dark brown or black in color. They are generally found in over-watered house plants where the larvae feed on fungus in the potting soil and moist organic material.

The best way to control them is to let the plants dry out almost to the point of wilting before re-watering. That will kill the larvae in the soil. Then put an inch of aquarium gravel on the soil to prevent female fungus gnats from laying anymore eggs in the potting soil.

You can also place a yellow sticky trap on a stick in the soil to catch the adult gnats.

Making Sure They Are Actually Termites

  • Termites have a thick waist
  • Termites have straight antennae
  • Termites have shorter legs
  • When wings are present, both pairs of wings will be the same length on a termite
  • Ants have noticeable waists
  • Ants have clubbed or bent antennae
  • Ants have longer legs
  • When wings are present, the front wings will be longer than the back wings on ants

Once you have determined you are indeed dealing with termites you will need to find out if you have subterranean termites or drywood termites because a subterranean termite treatment is quite different than a drywood termite treatment. If you have determined that you actually are in fact dealing with ant infestation, please visit our Ant Control Guide.

  • Subterranean termites have the main portion of their nest underground
  • Subterranean termites make mud tubes to access structures
  • Subterranean termites usually have large colonies
  • Subterranean termites do not kick out feces and debris
  • Subterranean termites typically eat along the grain of the wood
  • Subterranean termites are known to make “carton” nests in wall voids and in trees. A carton is a nest made from the termite fecal matter to maintain the correct moisture level when the termites are unable to return to the actual subterranean nest.
  • Drywood Termites do not require soil contact
  • Drywood Termites nest inside of the wood they are infesting
  • Drywood Termites do not make mudtubes
  • Drywood Termites fly into infest wood
  • Drywood Termites make small “kickout” holes in wood to push feces and debris out of the nest
  • Drywood Termites leave small piles of debris outside of the infested wood
  • Drywood Termites usually eat across and along the grain of the wood
  • Drywood Termites are usually found in coastal regions but they can be transported in infested wood

If you have determined that you actually are in fact dealing with a drywood termite infestation, please visit our Drywood Termite Control Guide.

How to ID Fruit Flies, Drain Flies and Fungus Gnats

Drains can build up sludge that attracts fruit flies and drain flies. TERRO ® has solutions for dealing with both of these pests.

When your home is under siege by tiny little flying insects, it can be easy to assume that you’re battling fruit flies, but that may not always be the case. Your problem may indeed be fruit flies, but two other insect species, the drain fly and the fungus gnat, should also be on your hit list.

Dealing with each of these species requires different tactics, so your first goal should be to identify the invader.


Without a doubt, fruit flies are the most common flying insects that will pester you in the kitchen. They are attracted to fresh and decomposing fruit as well as sugary juices and alcohol.

  • Colors: The two most common fruit flies, the Red Eyed Fruit Fly and the Dark-Eyed Fruit Fly, have striped abdomens. Their eye colors are, as the name suggests, red or black, respectively.
  • Size: Red Eyed Fruit Flies are about ⅛-inch long. Dark Eyed Fruit Flies are a bit bigger, at about 3 ⁄16-inch long.
  • Body type: Similar to a house fly, but much smaller.
  • Where: Fruit flies may be buzzing around your fruit bowl, inside a trash receptacle, in a recycling bin or in your drain or garbage disposal.


If you spot a swarm of bugs flitting above a houseplant, you probably have fungus gnats instead of fruit flies. Fungus gnat larva and pupa prefer moist soil to protect them as they develop. Before they progress to adult form, they can severely damage the root system of your potted plants.

  • Colors: Adults – brown or black with light colored legs.
  • Size: Adults are less than ⅛-inch long. Their larva and pupa forms are about the same size.
  • Body type: Although they are technically flies, they have a mosquito-like appearance.
  • Where: Fungus gnats will be spotted flying close to your potted plants and will show little interest in going anywhere else as long as there is moist soil available.


These hairy bugs are another kitchen pest. They thrive in dark, damp conditions and often find an ideal home inside a drain, which can include a floor or a sink drain, sink overflow or another area open to plumbing. Although they don’t bite, their presence can aggravate asthma in some people.

  • Colors: Light gray or tan with a dark border around wings.
  • Size: About ⅛-inch long.
  • Body type: Moth-like with fuzzy bodies and antennae.
  • Where: Drain flies breed inside of drains, often laying eggs in the sludge that accumulates inside. Adults will clumsily fly out of the drain and land nearby on walls and ceilings.


The best way to get rid of fruit flies is to keep your kitchen and garbage receptacles clean of any accumulated debris that may attract them. This includes thoroughly rinsing out beverage containers, using fruit quickly or placing it in the refrigerator, sealing garbage cans and removing refuse regularly from the area.

As you continue to work on preventing fruit flies, place TERRO ® Fruit Fly Traps around the area to attract and trap any lingering adult fruit flies. Even better, these attractive traps have a decorative look which allows them to sit on countertops, windowsills and kitchen islands without attracting the attention of your human guests.

If your fruit fly problem persists, the issue may lie in your drain. Sludge and other organic material that attracts these pests can build up and provide an egg-laying area for these bugs, even if you repeatedly try to flush out the system. To clean this problem area, run a drain cleaner through your plumbing.


Preventing fungus gnats should begin when you first purchase a houseplant. Before bringing it into the home, pull it out of the pot and look for signs of these pests, including glossy, clear larvae. Obviously, any plant that already has gnats flying around it should be left at the store.

The other simple prevention method is to ensure that your plants aren’t overwatered. Fungus gnats prefer moist material to deposit their eggs. Further, avoid adding water-retaining material when potting a plant such as peat moss.

If you have fungus gnats, add Safer® Brand Houseplant Sticky Stakes to your pots. These stakes contain simple yellow-colored glue traps that attract adult fungus gnats. By attracting and killing off the adults, you will eventually eliminate most of the remaining gnats as they reach the adult stage. Additional control efforts should include allowing your plant soil to dry out and applying “beneficial nematodes.” These are tiny worms that seek out and eat the larvae of fungus gnats without damaging your plant or becoming pests themselves.


Eliminating drain flies requires a few steps. Once you recognize that you have drain flies, put some tape over the drains where you suspect they are emerging and leave it overnight. The next day, check to see if any flies have been collected. Once you know their source, you can begin eradication:

  • Clean the drain. Pour 2 to 4 quarts of warm water down the drain to moisten any material stuck inside. Then use a metal pipe brush or plumbing snake to break up and pull out any grime or sludge.
  • Add drain cleaner. Pour a gel down the drain and follow its instructions for use.
  • Flush the system. A few hours after applying the drain cleaner, flush more warm water down the pipe to eliminate any remaining sludge.
  • Kill any remaining adults outside the drain. Smack them with a fly swatter or spray them with an insecticidal spray and then clean the area thoroughly.

To keep drain flies from returning, keep drains clean and eliminate stagnant water (including water in potted plant saucers) in the home.


Do you have your own solutions for dealing with fruit flies, drain flies or fungus gnats? Let us know in the comments below or visit us on Facebook with your DIY insect eradication tips.

Also be sure to subscribe to our eNewsletter, which will deliver exclusive updates on our products as well as informative articles to keep your home bug-free.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.