The distinction between ants and termites is pretty clear. Ants are mostly a nuisance, invading the kitchen and crawling everywhere, while termites can cause physical damage to the home, costing homeowners thousands of dollars if an infestation gets out of control. However, there is a species of ants, the carpenter ant, which acts similarly to termites. Carpenter ants will infest the home and start nesting inside the wooden structure of the building. In this article, we’re going to help you determine whether you have a termite or carpenter ant infestation.
The first way to differentiate between the two insects is to analyze them visually. Carpenter ants and termites are very distinct visually. To start, you can take a look at the body shape. Ants have a “waist” while termites have a rectangular body, more similar to that of a cockroach than an ant. Their bodies do not narrow at the center. You can then take a look at their antennae. Ants have bent antennae, while termites have them straight and beaded. If you notice ant-like insects with wings, you can tell whether you are dealing with a termite or a carpenter ant if the wings are much longer than their bodies. If the wings look disproportionately large for the size of the insect, you are dealing with termites. Finally, you have color. Termites have somewhat transparent, creamy white bodies, while ants are reddish or dark brown in color.
Differences in behavior
Next, you can identify the invading species by looking at its behavior. Carpenter ants will actually nest inside the wood they infest, and feed on it. If you notice holes in rotten or moist wood, and wood shavings or insect droppings below them, you might be dealing with carpenter ants. Termites will feed on wood, whether it is rotten or healthy. You can also analyze the tunnels and galleries in the wood. The galleries of the carpenter ant have a smooth, finished look, while those of termites look ragged and rough, and they will be filled with soil and mud. The final and most revealing sign is the presence of mud tubes near the wood. Some termite species are sensitive to light, so they will build mud tubes when travelling above ground.
Pest control for termites and carpenter ants
Once you understand which species infested your home, you can try to remove it yourself. This information will allow you to pick the right products and methods for the job. However, if the infestation is large enough, DIY pest control will not really work. Large infestations are hard to deal with and they require professional knowledge and tools. If you have a carpenter ant or termite infestation, and you’ve tried to remove it yourself with no results, it’s time to call in a professional. Contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment.