Carpenter Ant or Termite – Why the difference is vital.

Carpenter Ant or Termite: Both Love Classic Old Homes

Carpenter Ant ColonyThe older your home, the more carpenter ants and termites love it. Why? Because an older home is more likely to have a leaky roof, leaky gutters or drippy old plumbing. Why do these insects love water leaks? Because when leaks drip onto wood, especially over long periods of time, the wood softens and rots. This makes the wood more available for these insects either for burrowing or for a food source.

Carpenter Ant or Termite: What do they eat?

The preferred food is our first clue as to whether it’s a carpenter ant or a termite. Termites eat wood and therefore cause major destruction to the structure of homes. On the other hand, carpenter ants do not eat wood. They merely burrow into wood to create a home. Carpenter ants eat just about any food that you eat: Sweet food, greasy food, meat, grain. If it’s available to carpenter ants (sitting around the house in an unsealed container), they’ll go for it.

Mid-Winter Pest Control TreatmentsNow this presents another clue as to the difference between a carpenter ant and a termite. You’ll more likely see the carpenter ant going for your food. On the other hand, termites will be hidden away eating the foundation and structure of your home!

Carpenter Ant or Termite: What do they look like?

Carpenter ants have angled antennae. Their bodies are divided into three sections with a thin waist. Finally, they are dark brown or black. The reproductive version of carpenter ant–the one with wings, has uneven wings.

Image Credits: Ants, Ants and More Ants – Epcon Lane

Carpenter Ant or TermiteOn the other hand, termites have straight antennae. Their bodies are divided into only two sections: The lower section looks a bit like a grain of rice. They have no narrow waist. Termites are a white/tan color. The reproductive version of termite–the one with wings, is lighter brown (vs. brown/black carpenter ant), and their wings are equal in length. 

Image Credits: Ants, Ants and More Ants – Epcon Lane
Image Credits: What is the Difference Between Termites and Carpenter Ants?


Carpenter Ant or Termite: The damage they cause to wood looks different.

Carpenter Ants HabitsThe third great distinction between a carpenter ant and a termite is how wood looks after they’ve attacked it. Carpenter ants create smooth burrows or channels in wood. As they excavate, they push the sawdust out of the wood channels (remember they don’t eat wood), and the fine sawdust forms small piles called “frass”.

On the other hand, termites simply eat the wood until it falls apart! Subterranea n termites don’t like to be exposed, so they create mud tunnels from the earth to the wood they want to eat. These mud tunnels are another sign your home is infested with termites rather than carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ant or Termite: Both Are Hard to Exterminate

Carpenter ants are very mobile. Unlike termites they don’t care if they’re exposed. They will travel (mostly at night) up to 100 feet from their nest, and even create satellite nests. You could have a dozen or more carpenter ant satellite nests on your property or in your home. Unless you manage to locate and destroy them all, you’ll never rid your home of carpenter ants.

Termites, as we said, are more likely to be hidden in places you don’t normally visit–for example in the foundation under your home, in the wood beneath the home’s siding, and in those mud tunnels they create which mostly exist where you will not likely see them.

Carpenter Ant or Termite 

Carpenter Ant or Termite: Both can do massive damage to your home. 

Of course, since termites eat your home, their damage is greater. In fact, more homes are destroyed each year due to termite damage than to fire. However, carpenter ants are also damaging your home. Therefore, it’s vital that you exterminate both carpenter ants and termites in or near your home. 

Consider the value of your home. Do you really want to trust this to a DIY job? Save a few bucks and lose your home, or destroy its resale value?

Carpenter Ant or Termite: Call a professional exterminator to ensure your home is protected.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

P.S. Since both carpenter ants (who are active mostly at night) and termites (who love to remain hidded) can be in your home without you knowing, it’s a good policy to have your home inspected, especially if you have not had a professional pest inspection in the past few years.