Local Pest Control Expert

Is It Termites or Carpenter Ants?

Do you have carpenter ants or termites? Let Boz Pest Control help.
April 29, 2020

Carpenter ants and termites are both creepy crawly insects that can cause major damage to the wood in your home. Despite being very similar and having similar habits, they have some distinct differences. Because effective control measures are different between the two, it’s important to be able to tell the difference.

Physical Differences Between Termites and Carpenter Ants

  • Body shape. If you can get a good look at your tiny invaders, you can see some key differences in their appearance. The abdomen (or lower body) of a termite doesn’t have a “waist” and doesn’t narrow at the center, causing them to have a more “rectangular” appearance. Meanwhile, carpenter ants have a well-defined and narrow waist.
  • Antennae. Carpenter ants have bent or “elbowed” antennae, while the antennae on termites are straight and appear “beaded.”
  • Wings. Both carpenter ants and termites have four wings. While that doesn’t sound helpful, wings are actually an important distinction between the two species. Termite wings are equal size and are much larger than their bodies. For carpenter ants, the back hind wings are shorter than the front forewings and are smaller as a whole compared to termite wings, looking more proportional to their bodies. Termite wings are also fragile, and you can sometimes find their fallen wings near the entrance of their nests.
  • Color. Carpenter ants are reddish and darker-colored while termites are light, creamy white in color, looking almost transparent.

Behavioral Differences Between Termites and Carpenter Ants

  • Wandering. Carpenter ants can often be seen outside their nests foraging for food. On the other hand, termites are rarely running around and tend to only show up if their nest is disturbed.
  • Interaction with wood. Both creatures nest in wood, but how they dig into it is different. Termites actually eat the wood and prefer healthier wood, while carpenter ants simply dig into the wood and push the shavings out the entrances. You can often find wood shavings and bits of insect waste outside carpenter ant nest. Since its easier to dig through, carpenter ants prefer moist and damaged wood.
  • Nest tunnels. Because of how the bugs interact with wood, the tunnels in their nests look different. Termite tunnels are rough and ragged, filled with soil and mud. Carpenter ant tunnels, on the other hand, look smooth and finished.
  • Mud tubes. A mud tube is a sure sign of termites. These are tubes built on the outside of walls or between the soil and wood to serve as passageways for the termites

Why Choose Boz Pest Control to take care of your home?

  • With over 25 years of experience, there isn’t a pest problem we can’t handle
  • We offer personalized service for each customer- no “One Size Fits All” approach
  • We use the latest technology and methods to eliminate pests


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