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Are You Dealing With Carpenter Ants Or Termites?

a carpenter ant up close

What are these winged insects that are appearing inside your house? If you are seeing these creatures, you are probably wondering how on earth they got in. You may even go about looking for holes to seal up so no more can get in. But the reality is that if swarmers are inside your home, there is a good chance there is at least one mature colony already living inside the walls of your home. You see, when a colony of carpenter ants or termites matures, they send out swarmers (winged reproductives) to establish new colonies.

So, should you be worried?

Yes. If you are seeing swarmers in your home, you should be worried. But, to know how much you should be worried, you'll need to figure out which kind of swarmers you are dealing with.

Here's how you can tell the difference between carpenter ant swarmers and termite swarmers:

  • Antennae: Termite antennae are straight and appear as if they are made out of tiny balls. Carpenter ant antennae have more of a stick-like appearance to them, with an elbow-like bend in the middle.
  • Body parts: Both have 3 body parts, but only the carpenter ant has a waist that tapers. The thorax and the abdomen of the termite look as if they are one. The waist is also an area of the carpenter ant that distinguishes it from other ant species. If you have big black ants, and are wondering if they are carpenter ants, look to the waist. Carpenter ants have a tiny, round node between their thorax and abdomen.
  • Wings: Carpenter ants and termites both have two pairs of wings, but termite wings stack on top of each other, making them look like one big white wing. Ant wings can always be distinguished as left and right sides by looking at the hind section where there is a notable cleft between the sets.
  • Color: Termite swarmers appear jet black, while many carpenter ants have a reddish tint to them.

Another way to tell termites and carpenter ants apart is by their appetite. Termites are wood eaters that eat the cellulose found in wood products. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, eat lots of things including pet food, meats, honey, sugar, fruit, jelly, and other sweet things.

So, how worried should you be?

If you have either one of these pests in your home, you have real reason for concern. But, while carpenter ants cost U.S. homeowners hundreds of millions of dollars each year, termite property damage costs are in the billions.

It is important to catch both of these pests early, to significantly minimize the damage. Here at Action Pest Control, we have well-trained and certified pest professionals who are experts in identifying and eradicating pests from homes and businesses. If you are seeing swarmers, let the professionals at Action help you today. Take action and get Action, to protect your equity from wood destroying pests.