How Termites and Carpenter Ants Differ

Spring is right around the corner and as the temperatures rise and the ground becomes warmer, you may start to see flying insects around your home. This time of year is when termites and carpenter ants emerge, reproduce, and start new colonies.

Both of these pests share a common love for wood, but they’re vastly different. While you should contact a pest control company regardless of which pest you have, this article will explore how these wood-destroying pests differ.

Physical Differences

Termite swarmers are about 1” long and are dark brown to black in color. Their front wings are the same size as their hind wings. Termite workers, on the other hand, are smaller than swarmers and have light-colored bodies that are almost translucent. These pests have straight antennae and mostly uniform bodies.

Carpenter ant swarmers are reddish-brown or black in color and are about ¾” in size, larger than the average carpenter ant. They have two sets of wings: a larger set in the front and a smaller set in the back. Worker carpenter ants have the same body color and narrow waists.

Behavioral Differences

Termites feed on wood for its cellulose content, whereas carpenter ants excavate wood to create safe nesting places. Another difference between the two insects is the type of wood they prefer. Carpenter ants typically seek wood that is damp or rotting, whereas termites prefer all wood. They’ll even eat drywall and other material with cellulose.

At first glance, wood damage from both of these pests may seem similar. But with further inspection, you’ll notice that the damage is either smooth or ragged in appearance. Termites create ragged-looking tunnels due to transported mud, while carpenter ants leave behind smooth tunnels with wood shavings nearby.

Suspect a Carpenter Ant or Termite Infestation?

If you believe you have ants or termites in your home, contact the professionals at United Pest Solutions. These insects can cause severe damage to your home, impacting its structural integrity.

We will inspect your home, identify the pest, and get rid of those unwelcome visitors for good. We’ve been helping homeowners and businesses in the Bellevue WA area since 1960. Contact us today for an inspection!

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