Telling Ants And Termites Apart

Telling Ants And Termites Apart

There are two main insect species that can severely damage the home, and these are the ants and the termites. For termites, nearly all subspecies can infest the home, but only two do so routinely: subterranean and drywood termites. When it comes to ants, you only have to be careful about carpenter ants.


Carpenter ants and termites are very similar in how they interact with wood – they destroy it. However, termites will eat the wood, while carpenter ants will live inside it. Some termite species, such as the drywood and dampwood termites, will both eat and live inside the wood. Carpenter ants and termites are also roughly the same size, with carpenter ants being larger than what is average for ant species. One more similarity that we should take into account is that both termites and carpenter ants swarm during the springtime, so if you see winged insect swarms, it’s important to know how to tell winged carpenter ants apart from winged termites.


Carpenter ants and termites have several visual differences, but since you will almost never see termite workers outside of their colony, these differences are only relevant when it comes to swarmers. Carpenter ants will travel outside of the colony in order to forage for food, and you should be able to spot them when you see ants that are black in coloration and larger than usual. When it comes to the swarmers, you can tell the two species apart by looking at three factors: the body shape, the antennae, and the wings. Ants in general have a very well defined “waist,” which termites do not have. Termites have an almost rectangular body, and this can be seen in the swarmers as well. When it comes to antennae, termites have them straight, while ants have them bent, and finally, when it comes to wings, both species have two pairs, but in ants, the two pairs of wings are of different sizes, while in termites they are the same length. The wings of the ants also look disproportionately large in comparison to their body.

If you suspect that you have either of these two wood-destroying pests in your home, it’s best to call a pest control specialist right away, who will be able to perform an inspection and recommend a course of action going forward. Contact us today if you have any issues with termites or carpenter ants on your property.

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