Termites Vs. Ants: Real Ways to Tell Them Apart – BobVila.com


Recommended by Dikshit Aryal, Published on July 19th, 2021

Although they share specific characteristics, termites and ants are two different types of insects. They each present their own problems and require different treatment services. When it comes to termites vs. ants, one can be commonly seen in the open, while the other is more discreet but causes severe destruction to the home. Whether you need to get rid of flying ants or call in a termite exterminator, its advised to recognize the following differences before taking action.

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You can look closely at the antennae of the species youre trying to identify to determine whether its an ant or a termite. While ants have elbowed or bent antennae, termites have straight antennae. Although this may seem like a subtle difference, its enough to tell the insects apart so you can proceed with extermination or other services should you need them.

Once youre close enough to compare the bodies of termites to ants, youll likely see that the abdomen on a termite has no defined waist. Unlike ants, which have a well-defined, pinched body, termites are rectangular. If you can inspect both insects closely, this difference can help you determine which pest is present.

Think you have termites?

Don't wait. Call a pro ASAP. Get free, no-commitment estimates from exterminators near you.

Since ants typically dont eat wood, they likely arent the cause of any significant structural damage to your home, should you have any. On the other hand, termites consume mainly wood, paper, and other cellulose-rich substances and can wreak havoc on a home. If you notice wood damage on your property, you may need to call in an expert to determine if termites are to blame. Piles of sawdust or wood pellets are other indicators that theres likely a termite infestation, and the problem needs to be treated.

Ants are omnivores, which means their diet consists of food from both plants and animals. Theyre also attracted to debris from food, which is why you might have seen a line or group of ants surrounding waste from a public trash can or near a pet food bowl. Termites, however, strictly consume cellulose-rich items such as wood and paper. Theyre more likely to be found in drywall, cardboard, insulation, wood, and other materials that contain the cellulose they seek.

Think you have termites?

Don't wait. Call a pro ASAP. Get free, no-commitment estimates from exterminators near you.

The life cycle of an ant consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Although queen ants can live for years, the typical worker ant usually only lives for a few months. The termite life cycle, however, is much longer. Queen termites can live for decades, while common termites survive for a couple of years. Termites have more life cycle stages than an ant: egg, larva, nymph, molting, and full maturity. Because of this extended life cycle and the colonys social order, termites live longer than ants.

Although both flying ants and winged termites have four wings, the appearance of their wings can help you determine which one you may be dealing with. Termites have wings that are equal in length and are longer than their bodies, while flying ants wings are unequal in length. An ants back hind wings are shorter than its front fore wings, and they are pretty proportional to their bodies. Termites also have very fragile wings that can fall off easily, and if you see fallen wings in your home, this can sometimes indicate an infestation.

Think you have termites?

Don't wait. Call a pro ASAP. Get free, no-commitment estimates from exterminators near you.

If youve spent a decent amount of time outdoors, its safe to assume youve seen ants either in your yard or in other outdoor settings. If so, youve seen their dark-colored bodies. Ants are often dark red to black in color and can be frequently seen in the open as they gather and look for food. On the other hand, termites are translucent and light-colored or white, and they tend to avoid light. Its unlikely youve seen them outside unless youve been actively searching for them, as they tend to congregate in dark places.

Both ants and termites can require the help of a professional exterminator or pest control expert to eliminate the problem and ensure your home is free from potential damage. But since termites can cause structural damage that isnt always immediately noticeable, its best to consult a professional once youve identified them. Fire or carpenter ants can also be hard to eliminate on your own, so its wise to seek help if the pesky insects continue to infiltrate your home, whether theyre outdoors or inside.

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Termites Vs. Ants: Real Ways to Tell Them Apart - BobVila.com

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