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With summer in full swing, bug and other pests are reaching their peak months in activity as well. Some of those insects cause more grief than others. Two of them are often confused for each other, carpenter ants and termites. Though these two insects are the cause of thousands of dollars in damage each year for many homeowners, they have some distinct differences in appearance and habits. Dave’s Pest Control will help you understand some unique differences between the two and the damage that they can cause if left untreated.

How to Tell the Difference Between Carpenter Ants & Termites

Carpenter ants and termites have many similarities along with some distinct differences in their appearance.
Swarmer Wings – Both carpenter ant swarmers and termite swarmers have wings. They are, however, a little different in appearance. A termite has two wings on each side that are equal in length. While the carpenter ant also has two wings on each side, one is larger than the other. Swarming termites are light brown in color. Flying carpenter ants range from brown, black, and red, or a mixture of all three.
Ant & Termite Body Shape – The shape of carpenter ant and termite bodies are quite different. An ant has three separate parts to its body as does a termite. The ant has a very thin waist though, where a termite has no waist at all. Termites tend to be the same size around from top to bottom.
Antennae – The difference in the antennae is very distinctive. A carpenter ant has a very noticeable bend in their antennae, almost like an elbow. Where the termite has a straight, beaded antenna.

Difference in Habits of Carpenter Ants and Termites

These two insects are often confused for each other because they both can cause major structural damage to homes. They are both found in wooden structures, weakening the wood. The damage caused by these two insects is very different though.

What Does Carpenter Ant Damage Look Like

Carpenter ants do not actually ingest wood. Rather they seek foods that are high in sugar. Carpenter ants build their nests within the walls of wooden structures though. They usually seek wood that has had some water damage and is easy to hallow out to make their nests. They are very neat and tidy in building their nests. They will actually pack all the waste from clearing out tunnels in wood and pile it elsewhere. Once they have built their nest, they will not continue to build as many tunnels. The damage caused by carpenter ants happens over a longer period of time than termites. Since they don’t actually eat the wood they live in, you will often see the ants out scavenging for food. If you see a trail of carpenter ants around your house, you know you have a problem.

Signs of Termite Damage

Termites actually eat the wood they live in to survive. Many termite species such as subterranean termites also require a good amount of water. This is why they actually live in the ground and build mud tubes to their source of food. Unlike the carpenter ant, they are messy insects. They leave behind droppings and insect parts along with a sawdust-like material wherever they feed. Since they don’t have to leave for food, they are harder to detect. You won’t see them foraging for food around your house. The damage that a termite causes is far more severe than carpenter ants since this is their food source. It doesn’t take long for the damage to become severe when dealing with termites.

If you are concerned that you may have a problem with either carpenter ants or termites don’t hesitate to call Dave’s Pest Control for immediate help. With trained and knowledgeable technicians, Dave’s Pest Control can eliminate your pest problem today.