Termites and carpenter ants are both seen as types of ants although research suggests that termites have actually evolved from cockroaches. Both of these pests are dark in colour and they are similar in length, making it easy to confuse the two.
The good news is that, regardless of which one you have at your home, it’s worth looking for the best pest control near you. Both can mean trouble for your home.
Both termites and carpenter ants have four wings. However, termites have four wings of the same size while the carpenter ant has larger front wings and smaller back ones. It’s also worth noting that termites have wings shaped like a paddle, they have a curved rear edge. In contrast, the carpenter ant has a more pointed edge.
Although the termite has four wings of the same size, their wings are much larger than the carpenter ants. A termite’s wings will be longer than its body. They are also much more fragile and will break very easily.
Termites also have broader bodies, especially at the waist. This separates the two segments of their body. In contrast, carpenter ants have three body segments and a much slimmer waist.
Finally, termites have straight antennae and the carpenter ant has a bent antenna, it looks more like an elbow.
Of course, all these differences can be hard to spot when you just see one in the corner of your room. That’s why you should call the experts to identify and deal with the issue. Identifying them yourself will involve capturing one first. The easiest way to do this is to put sticky paper on the floor near where you have seen them and hope to catch one.
How They Behave
Once you know how to inspect your pest you can tell if you’re dealing with carpenter ants or termites. It’s useful to know the difference as this will guide how urgently you tackle the issue.
Perhaps the biggest difference between these two creatures is that termites eat wood to survive. A standard-sized termite colony can eat 6 inches of 2×4 wood in just 5 months. As they eat they create holes through the wood. This weakens the wood and, if left untreated for a long period, can cause serious structural issues in your home.
In contrast, the carpenter ant eats into the wood to create a nest. They still create holes but the number of holes will be significantly less. If left long enough carpenter ants would cause structural issues but this would take a long time.
It is possible to tell which type of problem you are facing by looking at fresh holes in your wood. Because termites eat the wood there is no evidence that they have been there. In contrast, the carpenter ant pushes the wood out behind them. A small amount of sawdust next to the hole in the wood suggests you have carpenter ants, not termites. That buys you time to get the matter sorted.