What is the difference between carpenter ants and termites?

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 4:00 PM

There are a many differences between carpenter ants and termites. The body shape of a carpenter ant is like an hourglass–it narrows between the abdomen in the rear and the thorax in the front. The body of a termite is more cigar-shaped without the narrowing between the front and back halves of the body. When wings are present, carpenter ants have larger wings in the front and smaller wings in the back, whereas termite “swarmers” have relatively equal-sized wings. Carpenter ant wings are less “veiny” than termite wings. Also, ant wings have a stigma (dark spot) on the leading edge of the front wing, and termite wings do not.


Carpenter ant antennae are bent or curved, while termite antennae are relatively straight. Also, termites eat the wood they tunnel through and ants do not.

What can I do to prevent termite infestation?


Treatment options include a monitoring & bait system like the Advance Bait Station System; or a liquid treatment, where a liquid termiticide like Termidor is applied in an underground “curtain” around the house.The current standard method of preventing termite infestation on newly constructed home or business is to have a pretreatment done which is a liquid termiticide over the entire foundation area before the concrete is poured. The building sciences are continually coming up with new methods of infestation prevention. A homeowner or business owner could also make post-construction improvements to the home or business that are less conducive to an infestation of wood-destroying insects. Common conditions that are conducive to an infestation are: earth to wood contact at support posts; wood, boxes, cellulose material and form boards left in the crawlspace; improper drainage away from the structure; and inadequate ventilation in the crawlspace. Correction of these conditions will greatly reduce the likelihood of an infestation.

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