Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

A termite is a carpenter ant is a termite, right? After all, they both damage wood.

Yes, they both do damage wood, but there are some major differences between a termite and a carpenter ant.

To the untrained eye, a carpenter ant and a termite are hard to tell apart. After all, they’re both oblong in shape, have a dark color and have four wings.

Yet while termites eat wood, carpenter ants prefer to nest in it, carving out (excavating) spaces in moist wood for their nesting galleries. In other words, they don’t cause nearly as much damage as termites.

Some other ways to tell if an insect is a termite or a carpenter ant:

  • While both insects each have four wings, a termite’s wings are all the same size. The front wings of a carpenter ant, however, are much larger than the back pair.
  • A termite’s wings are shaped like a paddle; a carpenter ant’s wings are pointy.
  • The wings of a termite are two times as long as its body.
  • A carpenter ant often has a black dot on the tip of its front wings.
  • A termite’s wings are very fragile and can break with barely a glance while the wings of a carpenter ant are sturdier.
  • The body of a termite has a “broad” waist and is comprised of two segments. The carpenter ant’s body, however, has a “narrow” waist and has three segments.
  • A termite’s antennae will be very straight while the carpenter ant’s antennae are bent (like an elbow).

Signs you may have carpenter ants in your home:

  • You’ll see a fine sawdust-like material (called frass) that falls from the ceiling or is left in piles near the ants’ galleries.
  • You may see more than 10 ants a day in rooms not your kitchen.
  • You see ants in your home in winter when the ground outside is frozen (termites live underground and so don’t leave it when the ground above their colony is frozen).
  • You may hear a faint rustling, crunching or humming sound coming from the inside of a window sill, wall or ceiling.

While carpenter ants don’t do as much damage as termites (they don’t eat it, they use it for nests), they do cause damage to the wood in your home. Whether you believe your home has termites or is the cozy casa to carpenter ants, call upon the pest control experts at Nature’s Way Pest Control.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *