Carpenter Ants Vs. Termites


To the untrained eye, carpenter ants and termites may look the same: oblong in shape, almost the same size with four wings, swarm in the springtime to mate and are notorious for damaging the wood in homes.

If your home is infested with any of these pests, you need to take pest control measures to get rid of the infestation and mitigate the risk of future infestations as well. But, pest control measures for both these pests are different. Therefore, it is important that you identify which pest infestation you are dealing with.

Physical Differences: Carpenter Ants Vs. Termites

 Physical Features Carpenter Ants Termites
Body Shape Narrow waist Broader waist
Antennae Segmented and distinctly elbowed Straight and bead-like
Wings Sturdy large forewings and small hind wings Fragile two sets of wings that are uniform in size
 Color Reddish or dark-colored Transparent, light or creamy white in color

Behavioural Differences Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

  • Carpenter Ant Nests Vs. Termite Nests
    Both insects usually build their nests in chimneys, damaged doors, and window frames, sinks, crawl spaces under roofs, and bathtubs. However, both insects interact with wood differently. Carpenter ants dig into the moist or damaged wood to build their nests; they do not eat the wood but push it out through openings of the galleries of their colonies. If you see moist rot wood in your home, it’s important to identify the root cause to ensure that the issue doesn’t persist in the future. If you see wood shavings or frass, it’s an indication of winged carpenter ants infestation. Termites, however, eat the wood in which they nest. Another difference is the wood tunnel they make. Carpenter ants will make galleries and tunnels that are smooth and finished. By comparison, the termite makes galleries that are rough and filled with layers of mud and soil. If you see a mud tube built between the wood and soil or on the outside of the walls, it’s an indication of termite infestation. These tubes protect them from open air and also serve as the passage through which the termites can travel to reach food sources in your house.
  • Carpenter Ant Damage Vs. Termite Damage
    Termites have the voracious ability to chew through flooring, wood, and wallpaper without being noticed. Therefore, they are known as the “silent destroyers.” Carpenter ant infestation can also go undetected, but unlike termites (an estimate of $500 billion in damage each year), carpenters ants can take years to cause significant damage but at the same time it is necessary to get rid of carpenter ants.
  • Controlling Carpenter Ants and Termites
    Carpenter ants and termites are different, physically, and behaviorally. Therefore, controlling measures taken are different for both. While carpenter ant infestation can be easily controlled by eliminating the conditions that attracted them, termite control requires professional intervention.

For both insects, the control measures taken include a multi-pronged approach that uses different chemicals to kill the insects and avoid further infestation.

If you’re facing an infestation of either of these pests or if you’re not sure if it’s carpenter ants or termites, contact us by calling(209) 832-7300.

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