4 Differences Between Termites and Flying Ants
Reading Comprehension Activity

Often times it’s hard to tell termites and flying ants apart! If you’re wondering what makes these two different from one another, read through this short passage to find the answers!

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Most people don’t like termites and flying ants. They think about how both bugs can hurt their homes. But when they aren’t in or near your house, they can be superheroes!

Termites help the rainforest. When the weather is really dry, termites come to the rescue! They help keep the ground wet by eating the dry leaves and wood. 

They might also help stop forest fires by eating dry wood that could start a fire. 

Ants are helpful gardeners like termites too! They keep dirt healthy just by eating and digging around.

They are both important to keeping our environment healthy but do you know how to tell the difference between these two natural superheroes?

They have four main differences: their body type, how their wings look, the shape of their antennas and the food they eat. 


Flying ants are just regular ants– with wings! If you look at a flying ant it will look just like any other ant does. They can be black, brown or even kind of red. 

If it doesn’t look like an ant, maybe it is a termite! Learning about the termites wings will help you decide if that’s what it could be. 


Termites have two wings on each side of their body. All their wings are all the same size and almost twice as long as their bodies! 

Flying ants have two wings on both sides of their body too. Their wings are not all the same size. The wings closest to their head are longer than the wings closest to their back legs. Their wings are not nearly as long as termites. 

Termite wings are colored more like milk and flying ant wings are clear. 


If you glued your tongue, nose and a finger on a piece of hair on top of your head, you’d have your very own antenna! Bugs use antennae to smell, taste and feel the world around them. They can do other cool things with their antennae too, like sense heat, vibrations and the wind!

Termites and flying ants both have antennae. Termites antennae are straight. Flying ants antennae are bent.

What They Eat

Flying ants and termites don’t fight over food. You might find a flying ant in your kitchen, searching for leftovers or outside eating seeds or fruit. 

Termites like wood and paper. You might not see a termite eating but if you are very quiet, you might be able to hear it! When there are a lot of termites around, sometimes you can hear them munching away on wood or paper! You may also see evidence of termites with little piles of sawdust. 

So if it likes to eat some of the same things you do, it has small wings and bent antennae and looks like an ant… it is an ant! A flying one!

But what if it eats wood, has big wings and straight antennae? It’s a termite!

Now you know the difference between termites and flying ants!

Comprehension Questions

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