Carpenter Ant or Termite? What’s the Difference?

 In Pest Control, Pest Control Tips, Pest Prevention

True to their name, wood-destroying insects are responsible for some of the nation’s most destructive pest infestations. Carpenter ant and termite swarmers are two of the most feared pest problems, and for good reason. Although these insects look alike and have similar habits, it’s important to know the differences between the two. Termites can cause a lot more damage than their lookalikes, afterall. Keep reading for the main differences between flying carpenter ants and termites from the professionals at New Mexico Pest Control.

How do Carpenter Ants and Termites Differ in Appearance?

Termite swarmers and carpenter ant swarmers may look similar at first, but there are a couple key differences that can help tell them apart!

  • 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.
  • 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. This feature is the best way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.

Winged ant vs. termite - New Mexico Pest Control

Habits of Wood-Destroying Insects

Both carpenter ants and termites attack wood, but in different ways. Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into sound wood, insulation, or wall voids. Although rarely seen, the galleries they excavate appear to have been sanded. While they indeed destroy wood, the damage caused by carpenter ants isn’t as destructive as the damage caused by termites.

Termites find their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil. Established colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. Needless to say, termites can be much more dangerous than carpenter ants.

Do You Have a Termite or Carpenter Ant Problem?

Both of these insects 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. At New Mexico Pest Control, our termite exterminators can protect you from the dangers of wood-destroying insects all year long.

Carpenter Ant or Termite? What’s the Difference? in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

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