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Carpenter Ants or Termites? Key Differences and What To Do If You Have Them

We all know by now that termites are pests we should all keep our eye out for, especially in the state of Florida. These humidity-loving, wood-hungry bugs can cause tons of damage to a building in pretty short order. But did you know they’re not the only wood-destroying organisms homeowners should worry about?

Lately, here in Volusia County, we’ve seen a massive uptick in carpenter ant infestations, and often they are confused for termites. It’s easy to see how one could mistake one wood-destroying pest for another, but knowing the difference can make treating your home easier to avoid long-term damage. Below we’ve listed some of the ways you can easily tell the difference between carpenter ants and termites. If you ever see a pest and aren’t sure how dangerous it is to your home, call a professional for their opinion. There is no harm or embarrassment in asking good questions.

Carpenter Ants Look Like Ants

This might sound silly, but knowing that carpenter ants look like ants will help you distinguish them from termites. One of the first things you’ll notice about termites is that they don’t have the traditionally segmented bodies that ants do. When you draw up an image of ants in your mind, you see three segments with a well-defined “waist.” Termites, on the other hand, have larger heads and long white bodies. Additionally, while both termites and carpenter ants have wings, termites drop their wings much more easily. If you have found wings around your house, it is far more likely that they came from a termite than from a carpenter ant.

Eating Wood vs. Building Nests

Another critical difference to note is that, while both pests are in the business of destroying wood structures, termites consume the wood, and carpenter ants simply use the wood to create their nests. To really get a sense of the difference between these bugs, take a look at the damage in your home. Carpenter ants hollow out tubes in wood until they are smooth, while termites leave more of a mess and may even track dirt and mud in with them.

Location, Location, Location!

While it is possible to find carpenter ants inside your house, they’re much more common outside. That’s something to consider when determining what kind of pest you’re dealing with. If you’re seeing wood damage on the interior of your home, there is a good chance that you’re experiencing a termite infestation.

The great news about working with a professional pest control company like Holder is that you don’t have to have all the answers. We fully believe that knowledge is power and want to help homeowners better grasp what kinds of pests they’re working against on their properties. We’ve also seen how homeowners often avoid serious pest issues by hiring ongoing pest control support. 

Whether you’re dealing with carpenter ants or termites, you still have a problem on your hands. Carpenter ants are known to cause less damage than termites, but any damage to a wood structure can have dire consequences. If you see evidence of wood damage or suspect there may be something fishy going on behind your walls, the best course of action is always to call a professional pest control company as soon as possible. At Holder Termite and Pest Control, we help homeowners navigate pest control issues every day. And after more than four decades of service to Volusia County, we’ve seen it all. Give us a call when you’re ready to put a stop to your infestation.

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