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What’s The Difference Between Ants and Termites?

You may have noticed little bugs in and around your home and some damage to some wood in your home or yard. Most people come to the conclusion that if wood is damaged, they must have a termite infestation, since termites eat wood. But did you know that carpenter ant infestations can be mistaken for termite infestations because the damage is similar?

Below, Magical Pest shares how to tell the difference between carpenter ants, also called “winged ants” or “flying ants”, and termites, as well as the damage each insect can cause, and what to do if you have an ant or termite infestation.


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What Do Flying Ants Look Like? What Do Termites Look Like?

Flying ants and termites look very similar, and it is often difficult to tell the difference between the two pests upon first glace. The main difference appearance-wise, between ants and termites, is that ants have elbowed antennae and termites have straight antennae. Both insects are winged, however, the back wings of a flying ant are shorter than the front wings, whereas the wings of a termite are all the same size.

Ants have a narrow waist where termites have a thick waist, making their whole body relatively the same thickness. Carpenter ants are typically a quarter to three quarters of an inch long and can be black or red, and termites are usually half an inch and dark brown, black, or light in colour, depending on the species.

When Do Winged Ants and Termites Appear?

Carpenter ants are usually active in the spring and summer, when the weather becomes warm. Termites are present all year long, regardless of the hot or cold weather. However, do not rule out the likelihood of a carpenter ant infestation during the winter months, as your home may be warm enough for carpenter ants to survive through the harsh months.

How Do Flying Ants Or Termites Get Into My Home?

Both flying ants and termites enter through cracks in the foundation of homes and cracks in bricks. However, flying ants will usually enter through doors and windows as well, whereas termites can enter through wood, especially areas where wood meets directly with the floor, like furniture. Ants are typically attracted to sweet foods, in contrast to termites’ attraction to wood, cardboard, and paper. That being said, both ants and termites are attracted to warm, damp areas, like cellars and basements.

What Damage Do Flying Ants Or Termites Cause To My Home? How Do I Know If I Have Flying Ants Or Termites?

Both carpenter ants and termites cause damage to wood, but the way they do so is different. Ants will dig into wood to create tunnels and make the holes quite smooth, while termites eat the wood and create jagged holes. If tapped, wood that has been infested with termites will sound hollow, since termites eat the inside. Since carpenter ants do not eat wood, they will leave wood shavings under or around the wood they have infested.

Flying ants tend to like areas where there is both wood and food present, so kitchens (think your table or counters) are optimal places for flying ants to live, unlike termites who prefer walls, wooden furniture, and wooden beams in the foundations of homes.

If you notice winged insects in your home and find wood shavings around wood, or hollow wood, contact Magical Pest Removal right away as you may have a carpenter ant infestation or termite ant infestation. Magical Pest Removal will work with you to find the best solution for your infestation. Call us today at (905) 738-6676.

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