Lions, Tigers, and Bears … Oh My!!

Okay, so flying ants and termites may not be on the threat level of lions, tigers, and bears, but close enough for my taste.

Spring and early summer can bring swarms of flying ants and termites to some parts of the country.  No matter which you may be “blessed” with this year, they are enough to bring a homeowner to distraction.  Just the thought of termites munching on your house (often one’s most valuable possession) is cause for concern.

We found ourselves facing this issue a few weeks ago.  While any homeowner can face this, we are perhaps more at risk than most due to all the area deadwood leftover from hurricane Micheal in 2018.  To increase the level of concern for us is the fact that our house has a roof made of 78,000 pounds of concrete tile.  Not a situation where one wants pests munching on trusses and supports in the middle of the night.

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t know that most species of ants (including carpenter ants) and termites could fly.  I thought ants built hills and spoiled picnics.  I thought termites live in the ground and dined on wet or rotting wood.  A swarm of either is just cause to sound the alarm and take action.  While there are some home remedies that are helpful, the best plan is to call an exterminator.

I learned that there is a way to tell whether you are being invaded by ants or termites.  Ants have a defined head, thorax. and abdomen.  They have bent antennae, a pinched waist, and large front wings.  Termites have no waist, are shaped like a peg, have straight antennae and the front and back wings are the same lengths.

We also learned that there is a dry wood termite.  This guy doesn’t eat wet wood or live in humid environs like the ground or your house crawl space.  We also learned that most termite bonds do not cover damage by dry wood termites, that coverage takes a separate policy or a rider to your existing policy.

So, while finding and reading your termite bond policy probably isn’t on your “to-do list” for the weekend it probably should be.

By way of a P.S., our swarm was flying ants.  But, it did prompt us to take out a policy for damage caused by dry wood termites.

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Ken Vincent
Ken Vincenthttp://sbpra.com/KennethVincent/
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.


  1. Ken, I for one quiver at the thought of pesky insects, I don’t like them and when I see them running all over the counter at times in the past, I look for the culprit, ie, sugar, food, etc,. Your article is a reminder to me that I will be on guard and definitely have a better understanding of the flying kind verse the running all over the place kind. Yuk!

  2. Swarming insects have always been the stuff of horror movies to me, Ken. Earwics, wasps, bees, ladybugs, ants, cockchafer…

    It seems a mixture of not very long and still a lifetime ago that we had invited around 200 people to a Christmas party. True, we didn’t expect all of them to show, but we still prepared by a.o. supporting a school fundraiser selling See’s Candy. Think 40 lbs in 1 and 2 lbs boxes stacked in the office closet.
    Fortunately, most of it was packed in cellophane wrapping because one day I watched in horror the march of the garden ants – a long moving black row directly toward the closet. We did have to ditch some boxes, some were unwrapped and served for the 80 people who did show up for the party, and more wrapped boxes found their way – without ants – to parties around town. Yuck.