Termites vs

Termites vs. Ants

Termites and ants are two kinds of pests that you definitely don’t want in your house. Even though these insects are two distinct species, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Ants and termites are small insects that both have six legs, a head, thorax and abdomen. Both types of insects vary widely in size. Some termites are tiny, while others are larger; the same goes with ants. Both termites and ants have queens that lay eggs and kings that fertilize them. In addition, both have a worker caste that does most of the work and a soldier caste that defends the nest.

Even though these bugs have a lot in common, if you know what to look for, you can tell the difference between them pretty easily. Termites have two pairs of wings that are of equal length. While ants also have two pairs, the wings in the front are larger than wings in back. Termites have straight antennae; ants’ are elbowed. The waist area of a termite is thick, while an ant’s is thin.

In addition to examining their bodies, you can also take a look at behaviors and the structures that they build to decide if you’re dealing with ants or termites. Ants usually are easier to find than termites because they don’t try to hide as much. That’s because they live in holes or nests built from the earth that they dig out of the ground. These dwellings usually are visible and easily detectable. Termites don’t build these structures, so if you notice piles of dirt, you probaly have ants. Ants will keep their shelter meticulously clean and dump debris in a pile away from the nest site. You can also see ants as they move in and out of cracks in concrete. And as is obvious to anyone who’s left some crumbs on their kitchen floor, they’ll eat just about anything – but not wood. They use that for housing.

Termites cause damage to your house becuase they consume wood rather than just live in it. In contrast to ants, termites stay hidden and often seal the entrance to the wood they have entered. Termites live in the soil and build tunnels in the ground to get to their feeding areas. While ants’ vision allows them to be highly perceptive, worker termites are blind and find their way around by following passageways and pheromone trails.

Even though most people might think that a termite infestation is worse than an ant infestation, that isn’t neccesarily the case. Whether they’re eating wood or building a dwelling out of it, both insects can cause significant structural damage to your home. To rid you home of ants or termites, treat your home with an insectide specifically designed for the type of insect that your dealing with or call a professional pest control expert. Regardless of the insect you’re dealing with, you’ll want to get rid of it before it wreaks havoc in your house. Early detection and swift intervention will send both of these pests packing.


Is termites and ants the same

Did you know that across North America termites cause over a billion dollars in damage annually? Termite destruction often costs more than hurricanes, floods and tornadoes collectively. Unfortunately though, there’s no government warning or news media to alert you to the pending damage. It is up to you, the homeowner, to protect your own property. Recently, we’ve been asked a lot about termites. Specifically, what is the difference between termites and ants? These are the three differences between termites and ants.

Termites are nicknamed the silent destroyer for good reason. They are nasty little creatures that often go undetected until it’s too late. They do have some defining characteristics though that can help you identify them so you can take immediate action. Subterranean termites are often confused with ants because they live under ground and dig tunnels like ants. A sure sign that you may have a subterranean termites infestation is the swarming period in the springtime when the subterranean termites fly around looking for a place to build a new colony. Here are some other ways to tell the difference between termites and ants.

Ants have bent antennae that look sort of like an elbow. Termite’s antennae are straight or slightly curved, but never bent like an elbow. You’ll probably need to capture one of the offending creatures in order to take a look at it, or just call your friendly local pest inspector and they will handle it all for you.

Ants are thinner in the middle section than that of their destructive cousin, the illusive termite. Perhaps it’s because the termites have been feasting well on the wood in your beloved home. Some obvious signs of this is bits of sawdust looking stuff, which is actually termite waste, left behind on your floors or windowsills. Also, look for little tubes or tunnels that are made of mud and generally found on walls, floor joists, chimneys and posts.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the dreaded termite is that it has larger wings and they are always similar in size and shape, meaning they all look alike. The wings of a flying ant are far more random and do not look alike in size and shape. If you still aren’t sure whether it’s an ant or termite, look for wood that’s been left behind that might be hollow inside or blistered looking and clearly damaged.

Termites have roughly the same body size as many species of large ants that are known as the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants also dine on wood, and often tunnel into wet wood, causing millions of dollars of damage across the nation every year. Both the termite and carpenter ant swarm in the springtime to mate, so they’re often confused for one another by frustrated homeowners. However, a closer inspection will show significant differences between the two. Studying the insects carefully with a simple magnifying glass will reveal the distinctions mentioned above, but if you are still confused don’t wait, call a pest control expert immediately.


Termites vs Ants

Are They Termites or Ants? Spotting the Difference Between Them

Termites vs Ants – This post will help you spotting the difference between termites and ants very quickly.

When there are swarms of flying insects outside of your home, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between a swarm of termites and a swarm of flying ants.

In fact, termites and ants do not have relatives with each other.

Based on DNA evidence, the scientists have shown that termites have kinship closest to the wood-eating cockroaches.

Termites vs Ants: Spotting the Difference

Most people wouldn’t confuse a wingless worker termite with a wingless worker ant.

It is just harder to identify the difference between them in their winged reproductive stage, otherwise known as swarmers (or alates).

When termite swarmers swarm, they are often misidentified as ant swarmers.

This is a common mistake because they look very similar to each other (they both have black bodies with wings). However, there are three very simple characteristics to look for that can be used to know the difference between a winged termite and a winged ant.

  • The antenna shape.
  • The waist size.
  • And the wings size.

The picture below will illustrate these points:

Ok, That’s It

So, you can easy tell the difference between termites and ants now. Let’s do a quick test.

What is the difference between white ants and termites?

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Answer Wiki

The term “white ant” can be referring either to the pupae of ants, which you can see when you disturb an ant nest and the inhabitants grab their eggs and pupae and head underground, or to termites. White ant is the commonly used name for a termite. As with many common names, the term has come about because of the way that termites look.

The average termite that home owners come across is usually very close to a white color. The color of termites can vary somewhat, dependent upon what it is that they are eating. A dark color timber, like redwood for example, will give the termites a darker color when eaten. A light colored timber like pine will not change the color of the termite so much.

Pictured above are termites showing soldier and worker termites. The termites with the yellow-orange heads are soldiers. When you look closely you can see large mandibles used for defense. The workers have no distinct mandibles and their head is more closely colored to their body. Note that the worker termites have different dark colored “bellies”, which is entirely dependent upon the amount and color of timber consumed by each individual.

Termites differ greatly from ants in terms of their appearance, characteristics, and dietary requirements. Although very similar to ants in terms of shape and size, termites have some unique features which help identify them.

  • All species of termites live off cellulose, meaning that they not only consume wooden structures, but they can and will also feed on plants, cardboard, and paper.
  • Termites are a light color, usually a white/cream color and can sometimes look quite translucent.
  • They have straight antennae compared to ants.
  • Termites have a thick waist.

On the other hand ants are omnivorous and will eat just about anything. They particularly like sweet, sugary substances and some varieties will keep aphids as “cattle”, protecting them from other insect predators and “milking” them for a sugary substance known as honeydew. An ant’s appearance, pictured below, differs from termites in a number of ways:

  • They are usually a dark color depending on the species.
  • They have elbowed antennae.
  • Their eyes are ev >


The Difference Between Ants and Termites

How Do You Know Which One Is Destroying Your Wood?

Do you think you have a home invader chomping through your home’s wood frame in the form of a carpenter ant or termite? If so, it would help if you could determine exactly which insect is the culprit. Both can be damaging to your home, but if you want to get rid of the problem, correct identification is the key.

Two Damaging Insects

Carpenter ants (Camponotus) and termites (Isoptera) share several similarities, not the least of which, is that they both are notorious for causing wood damage in homes. Termites are roughly the same size as the many species of large ants that fall into the carpenter ant group; and like carpenter ants, termites burrow into wood, making them the enemy of your home’s wood frame. And because both carpenter ants and termites swarm in the springtime to mate, they are often confused for one another by homeowners spotting the swarms.

Physical Differences

A closer look at the insect in question will reveal significant physical differences that make it easy to identify a termite versus a carpenter ant. Take a close look at the insect with a magnifying glass or even shine a bright light on the bug and you can use the naked eye.

  • Body shape: If you look at the insect’s body shape, take a good look at the abdomen area. A termite has no “waist,” instead, its body is more rectangular, without any narrowing in the center. In contrast, the carpenter ant has a very well-defined narrow, constricted waist.
  • Antennae: An insect’s feelers can say a lot about the insect, too. A termite has straight, beaded antennae, meanwhile, a carpenter ant’s antennae are bent or “elbowed.”
  • Wings: Both insects are winged creatures and each has four wings. You’d think, well, that’s not helpful, but honestly this characteristic is actually one of the better differentiating characteristics. A termite has wings that are of equal size and shape and its wings are much longer than its body. A carpenter ant’s back, hind wings are shorter than its front forewings and the wings do not look unusually long or disproportionate to its body. Another thing with termites is that their wings are not as durable as ants. The wings of the termite fall off easily. The loose wings can often be seen near the opening of a termite nest and can be used to identify a termite infestation.
  • Color: Ant workers are reddish or dark-colored and are frequently seen in the open foraging for food. Termite workers, by comparison, are transparent, light or creamy white in color, and they avoid light. Termites are rarely noticed unless their nest is disturbed.

Behavioral Differences

The way that the two insects interact with wood is different. For example, termites eat the wood in which they nest. Carpenter ants merely dig into the wood to excavate their nests; they do not eat the wood but simply push it out through openings of the galleries of their colonies. So, if you see small piles of wood shavings or frass (insect waste) below the holes, it helps to identify an infestation of carpenter ants. Carpenter ants seek out moist and damaged wood in which to excavate their nests; termites will chew right into the healthy wood.

Another obvious difference is the way the wood tunnels look. The tunnels and galleries of the carpenter ants will be very smooth and finished; termite galleries, by comparison, are rough and ragged because they are filled with layers of soil and mud.

Lastly, do you notice any mud tubes? A mud tube indicates the definite presence or previous presence of termites. These are tubes built on the outside of walls or between the soil and wood and serve as the passageways through which the termites travel.

Controlling Carpenter Ants and Termites

Because carpenter ants and termites are so different, effective control measures are also different for each. Carpenter ants can often be controlled through the elimination of the conditions which attracted them, but a termite infestation will generally require professional control.

If you do have winged ant-like insects in your home or building, it is best to try to collect a sample for identification. The sample can be used to compare with online photos and graphics, or you can show it to an entomologist or a pest-control professional for identification and recommended treatment.

For both insects, control will include a multi-pronged approach using different chemicals to kill existing insects and to repel further infestation. Also of critical importance will be removing and replacing structural wood that has been damaged by the insects. A home’s structure can be badly compromised by these insects over time.


What are the differences between ants and termites?

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Ants and termites are sometimes mistaken for each other, however they are very different insect groups.

Several key features help to identify them correctly.

  • Ants: Elbowed.
  • Termites: Simple string of bead-like segments.
  • Ants: Compound eyes present.
  • Termites: No eyes.

Waist (called a pedicel, found between thorax and abdomen)

  • Ants: Present.
  • Termites: Absent.
  • Ants: Pointed at end.
  • Termites: Blunt at end.

Both ants and termites can be divided up into several ‘castes’, which depend upon their roles in the colony.

  • Ants: Sexually undeveloped females.
  • Termites: Sexually undeveloped males and females.


  • Ants: Are workers and may have dual role.
  • Termites: Sexually undeveloped males and females. There are two possible body forms: mandibulate (jawed) and nasute (long-nosed), depending on species.

Reproductives (winged)

  • Both ants and termites can have a winged stage in their reproductive cycle.
  • Ants: Fore/hind wings unequal, strongly veined
  • Termites: Fore/hind wings equal, no obvious veins

Life cycle

  • Ants: Complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult
  • Termites: Incomplete metamorphosis: egg, nymph, adult (no pupal stage)
  • Ants: ants are scavengers, with different species foraging for different foods. Some ants live within damp/decaying wood, but do not actually eat the wood.
  • Termites: termites are plant tissue specialists, feeding on wood and grasses, and some species can cause extensive damage to buildings and trees through their feeding and nesting habits.

Scientific classification

  • Ants: Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae
  • Termites: Order Isoptera, several families

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