I am often asked. How do you tell the difference between termites and carpenter ants? Here’s what I look for.
1. THE WINGS
Both sets of wings on a termite are the same size, but a carpenter ant has two different sizes of wings.
2. THE BODY
The body of the termite has a wide waist. The body of a carpenter ant has a very narrow waist.
3. THE ANTENNAE
On a carpenter ant the antennae are elbowed, but on a termite they are straight.
But I think the easiest way to tell if it’s termites or carpenter ants is by looking at the type of damage they have done. They both tear through the wood doing the same kind of damage but there’s something that termites do that will give them away every time.
After subterranean termites eat some wood they go in the yard and get some soil and bring it back. Then they line the area of wood they just ate with dirt. Sooner or later they come through the wall and start to patch the hole with more and more mud. Then the mud dries out and just looks like a patch of dirt on the wall. So there will always be dirt with termite damage.
Carpenter ants will make small piles of sawdust on the floor or in a windowsill. So when I have a customer call me and say ” I think I have termites because I’m seeing small piles of sawdust in the windowsill” I know right away it’s not termites, it’s carpenter ants.
If you ever need to know if your looking at ants or termites, just take a picture of it and text it to me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Sent text to 817-705-7171
Brent Russell, owner of Tarrant County Pest Control
Tarrant County Pest Control’s Blog