Pest Control: The Difference Between Ants and Termites

Pest Control: The Difference Between Ants and Termites

What are the major difference between ants and termites?

  • Termites don’t have a “waist.”
  • The antennae of termites are straight and beaded.
  • Carpenter ants’ waists are pronounced.
  • The antennae of ants are bent.


Before you hire professional pest control services for a termite inspection of your home, you might want to confirm first if ter

mites are actually the ones plaguing your home. . . Or ants.

After all, ants and termites are often confused with one another. If you’re also having a problem in distinguishing the two of them, then don’t worry, this post will help you discern an ant from a termite.


The Similarities Between These Two Pests

Ants and termites are both well-known for wreaking havoc in your home—they can especially cause some harm to your wooden materials.

Termites are also approximately the same size as some of the species of larger ants; these ants, to be specific, fall into the carpenter ant group. Similar to carpenter ants, termites also have a knack for gnawing damp and rotting wood, which makes them the nemesis of your home’s framing and other similar wood furniture in your house.

Although they might resemble each other, especially from afar, a closer inspection of termites and ants actually reveal evident differences.

Physical Appearance of Termites

Physical Appearance of Termites

Here are some of the things you should look out for in termites:

  • Termites don’t have a “waist.” Their bodies are more rectangular in shape and have no contraction in the center.
  • The antennae of termites are straight and beaded.
  • Termites are winged. To be specific, they have four wings that are of the same size and shape. Furthermore, these wings are much longer than their bodies.

Physical Appearance of Carpenter Ants

Physical Appearance of Carpenter Ants

Here are some of the things you should look out for in carpenter ants:

  • The waists of carpenter ants are more pronounced.
  • Their antennae are bent.
  • A carpenter ant also has four wings, but its hind wings are much longer than the front ones.


Behavioral Differences Between the Two Pests

Aside from the distinctions in physical appearance, there are also notable behavioral differences between ants and termites.

  • Color

Ant workers are typically reddish and dark-colored. You also see them virtually everywhere. That is, they reveal themselves in the open as they unceasingly forage for food.

On the contrary, termite workers are rendered in a light or creamy white color. Additionally, their bodies are also transparent. Unlike ants, termites do their best to avoid light. You’ll rarely catch a glimpse of them, unless their nest is tampered with.

  • Wing Durability

The reproductive types of both of these pests are winged. It’s noticeable, however, that the wings of termites fall off easily. That is, it’s highly likely that you’ll stumble upon discarded wings near a termite’s nesting site. In fact, if you want to control this pest, then you might want to keep this little fact in might. These wings, after all, are one of the major signs of a termite infestation.

  • Use of Wood

For termites, the wood they’re nesting on serves as their sustenance.

On the other hand, carpenter ants don’t really munch on your wooden materials. They only drill through the wood to dig their nests. To put it simple, they ravage your wood because this will serve as the pathways for their colonies to come through.

This is why it’s hardly astonishing that you’ll discover mounds of wood shavings or frass near these holes. This is also one of the foremost manifestations of a carpenter ant manifestation.

  • Tunnel Characteristics

Both of these pests excavate wood to provide an opening. The tunnels created by carpenter ants will be very smooth and polished. On the other hand, tunnels by termites are coarse and ragged because they’re interspersed with soil and mud.

  • Mud Tubes

Mud tubes are one of the things that a pest control expert will look out for during a termite inspection. After all, these tubes are a clear indication that there are termites plaguing your home.

These mud tubes are created on outside walls, or between the soil and wood. They act as pathways through which termites trek across.


Key Takeaway

Termites and ants are two of the most common pests that need to be controlled. It’s best that you get rid of them as soon as you can, since these pests can cost expensive damage to your home, especially when it comes to wooden materials.

One of the things that can help you detect the presence of termites and ants in your home is to know how they look like, and how they differentiate these pests (especially since they’re often confused for the other).