Termites vs. Carpenter Ants

The difference between termites and carpenter ants is not very obvious. The average eye would not notice the difference between the two. Both insects usually build their nests in chimneys, damaged doors and window frames, crawl spaces under roofs and bathtubs, and around other sources of water such as sinks. However, both insects interact with wood differently. 

A carpenter ant digs into the moist or damaged wood to build their nests; they do not eat the wood but push it out through openings of the galleries of their colonies.Termites, on the other hand, eat the wood in which they nest. 


Even their physical features may look similar, but the insects appear differently once you know what to look for. Below is a diagram listing their noticeable differences:


Physical Features Carpenter Ants Termites
Body Shape Narrow waist Broader waist
Antennae Segmented and distinctly elbowed Straight and bead-like
Wings Sturdy large forewings and small hind wings Fragile two sets of wings that are uniform in size
Color Reddish or dark-colored Transparent, light or creamy white in color


The damages caused by both of these insects vary. While they might look similar in some situations, the damages caused by each and the prevention methods both differ. Termites are capable of chewing through flooring, wood, and wallpaper without being noticed. A carpenter ant infestation, on the other hand, can take years to cause significant damage. That doesn’t mean you should delay treatment if you find carpenter ant activity, however, because the damage is still inevitable if left on unchecked and it is impossible to know how long the colony has been active already. So, even though termites and carpenter ants interact with wooden structures differently and over different timelines, the effect is essentially the same: damage to your property. Don’t wait until the problem gets out of control – call a professional like Complete Pest Solutions as soon as you see signs of one of these pests.