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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

How Do I Tell The Difference Between Termites And Ants?

Do you believe you have a home invader? It would be beneficial to identify the specific insect causing the problem. You may have a carpenter ant or termite invading your home and nibbling away at the wood frame of your house. In both cases, the damage can be extensive, but the key to eliminating the problem lies in correctly identifying the root of the problem.

Carpenter Ants Vs. Termite Trait Differences

Several parallels exist between carpenter ants (Camponotus) and termites (Isoptera), not the least of which is that they are both well-known for causing structural damage to wood structures in residential areas. The fundamental difference between carpenter ants and termites is the size of their wings during reproduction. Termites, like carpenter ants, dig into wood, making them the enemy of the wood frame of your home. Furthermore, because both carpenter ants and termites crowd in the spring to reproduce, they are frequently mistaken for one another by owners who see the infestations in their homes.

Physical Differences Between Ants and Termites

While having a closer look at the insect, you will notice significant physical differences that make it much easier to distinguish between a termite and a carpenter ant. Closely inspect the insect under magnification, or even better, throw an intense light on the insect; you will be able to see it.

Body Type Differences Between Ants and Termites:

When examining the insect's body shape, pay close attention to the abdominal section. Instead of having a "waist," a termite's body is more rectangular, with no shrinking in the center of the body. In contrast, carpenter ants are very well-defined with a small, compressed waist. In simple terms, ants have a restricted waist, while the termite has a full figure shape similar to a coke bottle.

Antennae Differences Between Ants and Termites:

The feelers of an insect can reveal a great deal about the insect as well. In contrast to termites, carpenter ants have antennae that are bent or "elbowed," as opposed to straight and beaded.

• Wing Differences Between Ants and Termites:

Both insects are winged organisms, with four wings on their backs. Even though you might assume that this characteristic is unhelpful, it is one of the more effective differentiating characteristics. Termite swarmers have wings that are almost identical in size and shape of their body, and their wings are significantly longer than the length of their body. A carpenter ant's back and hind wings are shorter than the forewings on its front. The wings do not appear particularly long or disproportionate to the rest of the insect's body. Another disadvantage of termites is that their wings are not as strong as ants. The termite's wings come off with relative ease. The presence of loose wings near the entrance of a termite nest can be utilized to determine the presence of a termite infestation or swarm.

• Color Differences Between Ants and Termites:

Ant workers are typically reddish or black. Termite workers, by comparison, are transparent, pale, or creamy white, and they avoid light. They are usually seen foraging for food in the open. Unless their colony is disrupted, termites go unnoticed for long periods.

Behavioral Differences Between Ants and Termites

How the two insects interact with wood is quite different from one another? Termites, for example, consume the wood in which they build their nests. Carpenter ants excavate their nests by digging into the wood; they do not eat the wood but instead push it out via apertures in the galleries of their colonies. Carpenter ants are not a threat to humans. As a result, if you notice tiny heaps of wood shavings or frass (insect excrement) below the holes, this might help you determine if you have a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants look for moist and damaged wood to build their nests, whereas termites will chew right through healthy timber to get to their food source.

Another noticeable difference is the way the wood tunnels appear to be constructed. In contrast to termite galleries, which are rough and ragged due to the layers of soil and waste that fill them, the tunnels and galleries of carpenter ants will be incredibly smooth and completed.

Last but not least, have you noticed any mud tubes? Termite tubes are tubes constructed on the exterior of walls or between the earth and wood. They serve as passageways for the termites as they travel through the wood. The existence of a mud tube indicates the presence of termites, either currently or previously.

Carpenter ants and termites are difficult to control.

Because carpenter ants and termites are such disparate pests, effective control techniques for each must be tailored to their specific needs. Carpenter ants can easily be controlled by pest control applications and removing the conditions that attract them. Still, a termite infestation will almost always necessitate a professional pest control company to eradicate the infestation.

Attempt to acquire a sample of the winged ant-like insects if you find them in your home or structure so that they may be appropriately identified. When comparing samples with online photos and graphics, you can utilize the sample to decide. Alternatively, you can present the example to an entomologist or pest management professional for identification and recommendations on treatment.

Control of both insects will be accomplished through a multi-pronged approach involving several pesticides to kill current insects while also deterring other invasions. Also of essential importance will be removing and replacing structural timber that the insects have harmed. Over time, these insects can cause significant damage to the structure of a house. Contact Imperial Pest Prevention today for further information or to have a professional WDO inspection, Pest Control Service, or Termite Treatment.


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