The differences between ants and termites are several.
start with the body color. Termites are always blackish in
color, while ants may be black, red, brown or other colors. If
you have winged insects that are not black, you don't have
Next, look at the body shape. Ants have a constricted
"waist," while termites don't have that classic "hourglass"
figure. Antennae and wings are the other two body parts to look
at. Antennae on ants are elbowed, basically in an "L" shape, and
those on termites are straight. Both ants and termites have two
pair of wings, but those on termites will be of equal length,
while ants will have wings of different lengths on each side.
Looking through those entomology fact sheets also brings up a
few important points in the event that you do have termites.
First, don't assume that the house will fall in overnight. Take
the time to get several bids for the treatment from reputable
companies. Make sure you compare cost, service and guarantees.
Second, termites are pretty much a professional treatment job,
unless you have an exposed foundation such as in a new
construction project. Third, there are traditional treatments to
kill the insects, and other treatments render them incapable of
reproducing. Drenches, pressure injection and bait stations are
If ants are your problem, use of bait stations or baseboard
sprays may help solve your problems. Many of the bait station
programs will require a good week to 10 days to be effective.
Remember that damage done by ants, even carpenter ants, is not
structurally damaging to your home. They simply make a nesting
hole in wood rather than digest it.
If you have further questions on termites, or if the
do-it-yourself identification doesn't seem to work, by all means
contact the Extension office at 732-8289.
For most of your fruit trees and also your crab apples, spray
programs should have begun when the leaf buds started to open.
According to the pest control handbook, sprays should continue
on about a 10-day schedule until within two weeks of harvest for
fruits and until fruit sets on crab apples. For the homeowner, a
multipurpose fruit spray is the easiest product to use. It
contains two insecticides and a fungicide.
Because of toxicity to bees, just remember to avoid spraying
insecticides on flowering plants -- like right now on apples.
You can substitute plain captan fungicide during flowering to
continue your disease control.
Keep in mind that these types of sprays are preventive in
nature. That means you need to have the sprays in place before
you have problems. Once problems appear, there is very little
that can be done.
If you want more information on spray programs, feel free to
stop by the office and pick up a copy of the "Home Fruit Pest
Control" publication, available at no charge. While the
insecticides have changed, the timing has not.
University of Illinois Extension]