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Termites vs Carpenter Ants: What’s the difference?

One question Batzner is frequently asked is “What is the difference between termites and carpenter ants?” Most would say that they are both small, black and eat wood, so there isn’t much of a difference. Well, not exactly. Though they can look and act similar to one another, there are telltale signs to look for when identifying each of them properly.            

Termites
vs
Carpenter Ants
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• Pale brown to white-beige in color   • Black, red or yellow in color
• The broad waist makes the body uniform in width the entire length.   • The narrower waist gives the body a pinched look. A distinctly more segmented appearance.
• The two sets of wings are similar in shape and size.
(only found on reproductive termites that fall off after mating)
 

• The forewings are larger than the hindwings.
(only found reproductive ants that fall off after mating)

• Have straight, beaded antennae.   • Have "elbowed" antennae.
• Will eat and nest within the wood.   • Will burrow inside of damp or damaged wood to nest, but does not eat wood.

While termites and carpenter ants are very different, both can cause some serious damage to the structure of your home. Since both pests are different, they also require very different approaches when it comes to pest control. If you suspect that you may have termites or carpenter ants, it is recommended to contact a pest control professional who can identify and confirm what pest it is to help determine the best course of action.