Termite or Ant? How to Tell the Difference

Flying termite swarm in Oklahoma - Arrow Exterminators, Inc.

 

Carpenter ant vs termite infographic - Arrow Exterminators, Inc.

Some of the worst pest infestations in the U.S. can be traced to wood-destroying insects. Carpenter ants and termite swarmers are two of the most feared pests, and for good reason. Even though these insects look similar and have similar habits, it is important to understand the differences between them. After all, termites can do a lot more damage than their ant lookalikes. The pros at Arrow Exterminators are here to explain the main differences between flying swarmer ants and termites.

What do Termites and Flying Ants Look Like?

Both termites and carpenter ants have a caste of “swarmers”, which are winged reproductives that swarm to form new colonies. It is in this stage that ants and termites are most often confused. Here’s how to tell them apart:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers
    • Black in color, with some red coloring at times.
    • Measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antennae bent at a 45-degree angle. Carpenter ants are by far the biggest ant species in the nation.
    • Wings translucent with a reddish brown hue. They lay over the posterior of the ant.
  2. Termite swarmers
    • Dark brown to black in color and measure 3/8″ long (including the wings).
    • Wings translucent to slightly milky or smoky in color.
    • Wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body.

Are Ants as Dangerous as Termites?

Termites and carpenter ants attack wood in different ways. Carpenter ants build their nests in decayed wood and then expand to sound wood, insulation, or wall voids. While they indeed destroy wood, the damage caused by carpenter ants isn’t as destructive as the damage caused by termites.

Termites usually enter structures through basement windows, doorways, siding, porches, or other structures that are in contact with soil. Established colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. Without a doubt, termites can be much more dangerous than carpenter ants.

Need Help Identifying Termites or Ants?

When swarming, both carpenter ants and termites are feared for their ability to destroy the wooden structure of your home or commercial property. For that reason, it’s important to get annual inspections from a professional pest control company. Here at Arrow Exterminators, Inc., our termite control team will help keep termites away from your home year-round. Contact us today!

Termite or Ant? How to Tell the Difference in Oklahoma

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