10 Difference between Carpenter Ants and Termites (With Table)

Carpenter ants and termites cause damage to wood hence they are not preferred by human beings to live near them.

Carpenter ants clean and polish their galleries of wood so that they may appear smooth inside while galleries of termites contain large amounts of soil and mud.

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Comparison Table (Carpenter Ants Vs Termites)

Basic terms Carpenter Ants Termites
Habitat They make their nests in the decaying wood. They build their nests underground or in wet areas above the ground. They build tunnels to reach food and every spring.
Signs Piles of wood shavings, ants crawling in a building, faint rustling noise in walls. Small pinpoint holes in drywalls, drooping dry wall, peeling paint resembles water damage.
Lifecycle The eggs hatch to larvae, pupa then adults, it may take up to 10 months depending on the weather. Eggs hatch into larvae and moult, to develop into workers, soldiers and primary or secondary reproductive. I t may take 6 to 7 years for a termite to mature.
Damage They excavate tunnels in decaying wood making it unstable. The damage appears similar to water damage, it includes buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings.
Appearance They have a wasp-like waist and evenly round thorax, they have two pairs of wings where the front wings appear longer, they have bent or jointed antennas. Their wings are equal in length and their antennas are straight.
Identification They have a waist with one node, their thorax is evenly round, and they are black or reddish-brown in color. They have soft bodies and straight antennas, their color ranges from white to light brown.
Treatment Their nests are sprayed with insecticides to kill them. Applying liquid soap where the termites are, building materials impregnated with termiticides.
Nests They build their nests by excavating the tunnels in the decaying wood. The nests are built underground or on wet areas above ground where they build tunnels to reach food.
What they eat They feed on sources of proteins and sugar, the outdoor ones feed on both living and dead insects. They feed on dead plants and trees, they get their nutrients from cellulose found in trees.
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What Is a Carpenter Ant?

Carpenter ants are large ants that get their name from their nest building. They excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside the wood. Although they do not eat wood, they only create tunnels to create their nests.

The ants damage the wood as they will excavate sawdust-like debris and that will make the wood to be hollow hence not useful to human beings.

The ants can be controlled by spraying insecticides where they have already infested and trying to block their ways before they get into the wood.

The ants feed on sources of proteins and sugar. The ones living outside, feed on both living and dead insects.

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What Is a Termite?

Termites are insects that build their nests underground or on wet areas above the ground where they build tunnels to reach food. They are more like carpenter ants but slightly different. A termite has no waist as opposed to a carpenter ant that has a waist.

Termites are destructive insects as they feed on dead plants and trees. They get cellulose from the plants and trees. They also feed on other materials such as paper, plastic, and drywall but the wood makes a bigger part of its diet.

They can be controlled by applying liquid soap where the termites are and also using building materials impregnated with termiticides.

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Main Differences Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

  1. Carpenter ants build their nests by excavating the wood to form a smooth tunnel while termites build their nests underground or on wet surfaces above the ground.
  2. Carpenter ants are black or reddish-brown in color while the termites range from white to light brown in color.
  3. Carpenter ants have waists, bent or jointed antennae and their wings are not equal in length while termites do not have waists, their antennas are straight and their wings are equal in length.
  4. Carpenter ants feed on sources of proteins and sugar, living and dead insects while the termites feed on dead plants and trees.
  5. Carpenter ants will look for moist and damaged wood to excavate their nests while the termites will chew right into the healthy wood.
  6. Tunnels for carpenter ants are smooth and finished while tunnels for termites will be rough and ragged because they are filled with layers of soil and mud.

Similarities between Carpenter Ant and Termites

  1. Both carpenter ants and termites are destructive to wood.
  2. They are both similar in appearance whereby they both have bulbous chitin shells.
  3. They both make tunnels when building their nests.
  4. They both have wings which may sometimes be small.
  5. Both look for moist areas to build their nests.

FAQs

What is the difference between ant and termite?

Both ants and termites have wings but the termite’s wings are equal in length while the ants have larger front wings, the antennae of ants are bent or jointed while the wings of termites are straight, also ants appear a little bit segmented because of their waist.

Are carpenter ants worse than termites?

Carpenter ants do not cause the same structural damage as termites. The carpenter ants boreholes in deck railings and other wooden structures to build their nests. The termites also attack the wooden structures in the home so both are destructive.

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What are the signs of termites in your home?

There are various signs that show that termites have infested your home. They include; drooping drywall, peeling paint that resembles water damage, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, small pinpoint holes in drywall, buckling wood, tiles loosening, and excessively squeaky floorboards.

How do you kill termites?

The most popular method used to kill termites is to treat the soil around the house with termite insecticide. Wood can also be treated directly if the termites have already infested the tree.

What are the dangers of termites?

They cause the structure to weaken as they eat the wood that has been used to make any item and it remains hollow hence weak to be used for the purpose it was made.

Are termites more destructive than carpenter ants?

Both termites and carpenter ants are destructive as they weaken the structure hence they are all destructive to structures.

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Summary

Both carpenter ants and termites are insects. The carpenter ants only excavate a tunnel in the wood to create their nest while the termites feed on the wood. This makes the carpenter ants look for decaying wood so that it may be easy for them to create the nests. The termites look for healthy trees as they need to feed on them.

Both insects are destructive to structures and this makes it hard for human beings to tolerate them. They are both controlled by spraying insecticides.

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