The two most common pests found in any home are either carpenter ants or termites. They both hibernate in the winter and then come out of hibernation in the spring. They also both have wings that eventually fall off after they start swarming. But there are vast differences between the two insects, especially when it comes to preventing an infestation and ultimately killing them.
Termites have equal size wings that kind of point out straight to their sides, while carpenter ants have unequal size wings that stick out diagonally. Termites have straight antennas sticking out of their head, while carpenter ants have elbow shaped antennas. Termites have a broad waist and carpenter ants have a slender waist. Based on these physical descriptions, you should be able to tell the two insects apart by simply looking at them for these specific physical attributes. The specific types of each insect you will come across are called “workers.” Ant workers are easier to spot because they are a dark red color and usually travel out in the open to forage for food. As for termite workers, they are white colored and tend to stay in darker areas where they also nest. Termites are harder to spot than ants for this reason.
Many people get confused about what carpenter ants and termites actually do with the wood. Carpenter ants like to form their nests in damaged or moist wood by excavating or digging into it. Carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood like termites do, but this can be hard to tell because the wood will still look damaged. Termites like to just eat right through wood wherever they can find it, so the damage will look similar. They both like to nest in the wood they have damaged as well. Each insect uses tunnels underneath the ground to travel. Carpenter ants create very smooth tunnels while termites create ragged tunnels that contain mud and soil. They use these tunnels to help them travel right to the area they end up infesting.
Carpenter ants can be eliminated simply by removing the damaged wood that is attracting them in the first place. But if you have a termite problem then removing the wood may not be enough and so you will need to call a professional pest control technician to help you out with that problem. There is no way to completely eliminate insects from the ground because millions of them exist there. The idea is to prevent them from being drawn toward your home.
Read also: Does Mulch Attract Termites?