Carpenter Ants Versus Termites: Tips For Identifying Winged Pests

Do you have a swarm of pests outside your home? Chances are, you are dealing with either termites or carpenter ants; both of these bugs swarm during spring, which is their mating season. It is important to figure out exactly which pest you have, however, because termites can be very destructive and require treatment from professionals. Luckily, there are ways that you can determine the difference between these two bugs.

Examine Their Bodies

Do your best to capture one of the bugs, and examine it closely. If the body does not appear to be segmented, you probably have a termite. If, however, you notice a distinct waist, it is more likely to be a carpenter ant. In addition, the antennae of carpenter ants are bent rather than straight like a termite’s antennae. Finally, all of the termite’s wings are the same shape, but a carpenter ant’s hind wings are smaller than its front wings. An ant is generally darker than a termite as well; termites tend to be light or white whereas ants are reddish.

Observe Their Habits

If you can’t capture a bug, try observing its habits to gain clues instead. Carpenter ants don’t mind going out during the daytime, because it gives them an opportunity to look for food. Termites do not like the sunlight, though, so you are less likely to see them in the sun except under rare circumstances. In addition, termite’s wings are very fragile, so you make see some start to gather near the nesting site.

Carpenter ants and termites can both make a mess of your wood, but they are different in one very major way; termites eat the wood, but carpenter ants simply make holes in it. Because of this, you will often notice wood shavings near the holes if you have carpenter ants, because as they dig, they push the wood out to make their tunnel. In addition, a mud tube is a clear indication that you have termites. You might see one of these on the exterior of a wall or between the wood and the soil in areas where the termites frequent.

English: Termites which seems like Ants. So, i...

Take Care Of The Problem

Regardless of which pest you are dealing with, you must take immediate steps to correct the problem. For termites, calling in a pest control company is your best option. For carpenter ants, you may be able to get rid of them yourself if you can make your home less attractive to them. However, remember that they can still cause damage to your wood, so you still need to take them seriously. If, after reading the information above, you still aren’t sure if the winged bug is a termite or a carpenter ant, bring a sample to a pest control company. They will help you identify it and explain your treatment options.

Termites cause millions of dollars in damage for homeowners every year. If you have a winged bug flying around your home, take steps to identify it and then treat the problem. Quick action could save you a lot of money.

Featured images:

Morgan is a proud mother, who enjoys spending her days discovering fun and interesting things to do with her young son. At night, she is an avid writer and solves all her pest problems with the help of a Jersey City pest control company.

Published By Thomas Ballantyne

$12 Million Pest Control

When most people have any type of pest control problem, they simple call the exterminator.

When Elin Nordegren, former wife of golfer Tiger Woods, has a pest control problem, she demolishes her house.

Nordegren decided to level her 17,000 square foot, beach front home in North Palm Beach, FL after it was discovered to be infested with termites and carpenter ants.  Aside from that, the home is not up to Florida’s hurricane code.  Her home builder advised her it would be easier to level the house and start from scratch.

Elin Nordegren's Florda home before being demolished for temites and carpenter ants. (Yahoo News)

Before the take-down, Habitat For Humanity was allowed to take as many cabinets, hardware and fixtures as possible before the wrecking crews were sent in.

We only wish we could have been the ones to make the recommendation.

Elin: “So I have termites and ants.  What do you recommend?”

Bulwark: “Well we’ve never seen it this bad before.  We recommend you completely destroy your house to the ground, rebuild it again, and then sign up for our regular every-other-month service.  We also do free call-backs in between services if your issue continues.”

Elin: “Hmmm. That’s sounds like a good idea. Let me call a wrecking crew, let them level this baby, spend another 12 mil to build it back up and then I’ll have you guys come back out….You guys don’t do the human-type pest control on ex-husbands do you?!”

Bulwark: “Uhh…We take care of the bugs that eat wood, not Woods himself.”

Nordegren's property after her $12 million home was demolished. (Yahoo News)


Termites Eat $6,000 in buried cash!

 Being a thief just doesn’t pay.

Agricultural Research Service scientists have ...
Image via Wikipedia

A theif decided to bury his stolen treasure. And it just so happened that a hungry termite colony found the stash. Ultimately termites ate up more than Rs 3 lakh of the Rs 5 lakh in Rs 500 currency notes he had hidden under the ground, which equates to about $6,000 to $10,000 in U.S currency. (currency translation per Jey Pandian) It’s funny most people only think of termite’s costing money due to structural damage.  They eat up more money in the US than all other natural disaster’s combined. But in this case, they literally ate the money. Green bucks are still made from trees, and that’s the same root that termites like to feast upon. Moral of the story… Don’t be a thief!

That’s your Friday Fun Pest Report!


NAGPUR: A satisfied colony of termites proved to be the Nemesis of a thief who had left a considerable stolen booty buried in the premises of a school in Dhantoli. The termites ate up more than Rs 3 lakh of the Rs 5 lakh in Rs 500 currency notes he had hidden under the ground.


Other than bury it, what would do with $6,000?

Annie Cushing… “Buy shoes!”

Moisture = Termites

From the monsoons of Arizona to Gustav in Louisiana there is rain a pouring in the southern portion of the United States.  Subterranean termites love moisture and often times become more active because of it.  You can either perform an investigation utilizing the tips I am going to give you about identifying termite infestations or you can contact Bulwark Exterminating for a free termite inspection. (1-800-445-9313)

How to identify Termites

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around
    your home.  The opening in the mound is generally very large.  They will often times be crawling very fast along the grounds too.  The insects are preparing to mate.  Termites tend to swarm in the Spring.
  • Any cracked or bubbling paint or termite droppings.
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls.  These are utilized by subterranean termites to get from their underground abode to the softwood they are dining on.
  • Discarded wings from swarmers.  Look at the wings they will be identical in opposed to carpenter ants who will have different sized wings.  Termite will have four wings that are generally twice their body size.
  • Termites have straight bodies with no petiole. (waist)

Wood Destroying Pests (Termite) Inspection Specifics

The specifics straight down to the nitty gritty:

External Inspection: In general; places where there is moisture or cellulose.

  • Drainage: Water troughs that run along side your roofs and into down spouts; should be contiguous.
  • Natural flow of water away from your foundation. Like your roof, the ground surrounding your foundation should be slightly sloped to allow water to flow away from your foundation and ultimately to a civic drainage system. Water damage to the external walls; paint discoloration; molds, moldy smell etc.
  • Water (hose) outlets: Leaking? Water Buildup permeating the foundation? Adequate drainage from the foundation?
  • Cellulose deposits: Firewood? Anything with cellulose. How is Cellulose materials stored? Off of the ground or In contact with the soil? All wood should be raised (bricks under pallet,etc.) Against the foundation? Wood should not come in contact with any of the external walls of the home; I recommend at least 2 feet of space.
  • Soil levels on the foundation; should be less than 2 inches from the top of the concrete slab.
  • Does the customer have a wooden fence? If so, do wooden posts run right into the ground? Any wood to soil contact?
  • Any signs of termite activity (mud tubes, wings)…both inactive and active; I also look for previous termite treatments.

Internal Inspection:

  • I am looking primarily at the places where moisture is present. Kitchens, Bathrooms, Mud rooms, and around HVAC entry/exit points. I am checking for signs of water damage; rots, mold, fungi, etc.
  • I look at all windows and doors or other entry points on all external walls. I am looking for bulges and other irregularities in the wood. Using a stethoscope and if necessary; various probes I will look for various types of termite indicators (inactive/active).

This is basically what I would look for. I tried to keep it very simple as to give you a clue as to what your inspector might be looking for. Hopefully this will help you when preparing to have a termite inspection. These guidelines may help; but are no guarantee for a passing report.

If you do not receive an “all-clear” report; you will be notified of issues found during the inspection. Generally you are given a period of time to get these problems fixed; and the report amended. Good Luck.


Bulwark Exterminating

Termites Pest Control

I would like to take the opportunity to write about termites. Termites are very dangerous because of the damage that they cause to man made structures. There is a different test one must take before they can become certified to treat for termites in the State of Nevada. I am happy to say that I passed with flying colors. Although called the “termite” test the curriculum or certification materials covered other Wood Destroying Pests. I was a little surprised to be studying moss, fungi, rot, bees, beetles and structural aspects of homes which included; how well water flowed away from the foundation. It is interesting to see how all of these things come together when you finally get the big picture of what the inspection is all about, and how important a proactive approach can be when trying to control termites.

I will include in another post specifically what your neighborhood termite inspector will be looking for. For now, I would like to lay the framework for the “big picture” approach to a termite inspection; generally needed for various (loan) real estate transactions.

So why did I learn about moss, fungi, various other “rot,” bees, beetles, and how well the water flows away from the foundation?

Although termites are the number one wood destroying pests, there are others. There exists various types of bees and borers (beetles) that destroy wood and it is important to know about these insects to prevent the incorrect diagnosis of termites. The cost to treat for termites can be expensive, so it is very important that your diagnosis be solid.

When it comes to termites you want to make it as hard as possible for them to find a suitable place to live. This is where the various types of “rot” and how water flows away from the foundation comes in. Subterranean termites need a lot of moisture and prefer softer wood. Areas around your foundation where water builds up is a disaster waiting to happen. Over time, wood components of the foundation will eventually become water logged; ultimately developing the wood of choice for the nearest subterranean colony. Looking for moss, and fungus can easily identify places where this has taken place. Ever look at places where water damage has occurred? Moss, Fungus, or various stages of rot in/on walls is an immediate red flag for the inspector because it could be an entry point/harborage for termites.

The big picture is more than that of termites. One should learn of other wood destroying pests native to their habitat, and understand conditions that exist around the home that may be conducive to an infestation of various wood destroying pests; let alone the infamous termite.


Need a Termite Inspection: Click Here.