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Accel Pest Blog

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How to Tell the Difference Between a Termite and a Carpenter Ant

It is easy to tell the difference between a termite and a carpenter ant if you familiarize yourself with a few simple facts. While both types of insects are potentially damaging to the wood in your house, they do have distinct differences. One similarity is that termites and carpenter ants are approximately the same size.

Furthermore, both carpenter ants and termites relish the thought of burrowing themselves into damp wood, especially moist or rotten wood. If your house has wood siding or framing, it needs protection from potentially harmful attacks instigated by both termites and carpenter ants.

One important thing to remember is that termites and carpenter ants mate in the springtime. You will notice them gathering in swarms during brief moments when they are trying to create their babies. Nevertheless, you should consider your option of studying the swarms more closely so that you can identify whether the insects are actually termites or carpenter ants. Here are a couple of distinguishing traits about the physical appearances of carpenter ants and termites:

  • Termites do not have any waists. Think of termites as rather shapeless creatures. Plus, their antennae are straight. Termites have four long, identically shaped wings that are all exactly the same size. On the other hand, carpenter ants boast attractive waistlines and antennae resembling bent elbows.
  • Although carpenter ants have four wings, the wings are not identical in size. A carpenter ant has larger wings in the front of its body and smaller hind wings. If termites and carpenter ants wanted to find modeling jobs, it is obvious that carpenter ants would win the contest due to their svelte, finely shaped bodies.

Termites Love to Eat Wood

If you have books, magazines, bookshelves, wooden desks or antique furnishings in your house or condominium, they present themselves as free food to the humble termite. Unlike carpenter ants that do not need to eat wood to survive, termites literally thrive on the cellulose found in wood. Without cellulose in its diet, a termite will quickly join its fellow termites in a fictitious place known as Termite Heaven.

On the other hand, carpenter ants love building their habitats in wood but thrive on protein and sweets. If carpenter ants are living in your home, do not leave honey, cookies, cake or maple syrup exposed. Otherwise, you may wake up only to find that you have a migraine headache when you witness droves of carpenter ants eating the sweet products left on your kitchen countertop.

Look for Wood Shavings

Wood shavings in or around your home mean that you most likely have either a carpenter ant or a termite infestation. Of course, another plausible answer is that you are married to an absentminded spouse who enjoys working with wood but forgets to clean up the mess. If you want to eliminate insects, it is best to contact Accel Pest and Termite Control, your knowledgeable pest technicians.

We proudly serve Williamsburg and many other Virginia towns, so take a look at our service area and see if we can help!

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