How Are Termites and Carpenter Ants Different?

Carpenter ants are commonly mistaken for termites in Everett WA - Learn more from Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt PestAs wood-destroying insects, termites and carpenter ants share a lot of similar behaviors. They even look quite similar in the swarmer stage of their life. However, these two pests are quite different. Termites are responsible for the most destructive pest infestations across the nation, and are dangerous for being silent destroyers. So how do you tell the difference between termites and carpenter ants? Read on for info from the experts at Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest!

What do Swarming Termites and Carpenter Ants Look Like?

As swarmers, termites and carpenter ants can look very similar. There are a couple key differences that help differentiate the two:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers
    1. Black in color, with an occasional red tint.
    2. Measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Carpenter ants are by far the biggest ant species in the nation.
    3. Wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant.
  2. Termite swarmers
    1. Very dark brown to black in color, and measure 3/8″ long (including the wings).
    2. Wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color.
    3. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body. This is an easy way to tell them apart from carpenter ants!

Winged ant vs. termite in Snohomish County WA - Western Exterminator, formerly Pratt Pest

Behaviors of Termites and Carpenter Ants

As wood-destroying insects, termites and carpenter ants share many similar habits. Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into sound wood, insulation, or wall voids. When you notice the damaged wood, the galleries they excavate appear to have been sanded. Although they destroy wood, the damage caused by carpenter ants does not amount to the potential damage of a termite infestation.

Termites, on the other hand, often make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, porches, or any other area of the property in contact with soil. Grown colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. With this growth rate, termites are considerably more dangerous than carpenter ants.

Professional Termite & Carpenter Ant Extermination

Wood-destroying insects are any property owner’s worst nightmare. Because infestations are often found late when considerable damage has already been done, it’s recommended to get annual inspections from a professional exterminator. The team at Western Exterminator can thoroughly inspect your Everett WA property for signs and risks of these insects. Our goal is to keep you, your family, and your property safe from wood-destroying insects year-round.