Knowing The Differences: Termites Vs. Ants In The Home

February 16, 2022
Knowing The Differences: Termites Vs. Ants In The Home


Household pests come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very similar in appearance that it makes it difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish one from another, especially when it comes to insects like carpenter ants and termites. While they are wood-feeding pests all the same, knowing the type of pests you face is the first critical step to removing an infestation.

This knowledge allows you to choose the proper measures to implement to prevent them from spreading further and, if worse comes to worst, determine if you need to call in ant or termite control company to ease your stress. Below, we go over the distinct differences between these two common household pests and how to tell one from the other.

Body shape

The most significant difference between carpenter ants and termites is their body shape. Carpenter ants and other ant species all share distinctly narrow ‘waists’. Meanwhile, termites possess a broader waistline in comparison.


An essential thing to note about both termites and carpenter ants is that only those with reproductive capabilities have wings and swarm from their colonies. Knowing which is which when you see one flying about is possible, but the identifiers can be tough to differentiate.

Both termites and carpenter ants have two sets of wings, but the former is relatively uniform in size while the latter’s forewings are bigger than their hind wings.


Termite antennae are wholly unique from carpenter ants due to their straight and bead-like appearance. In contrast, ants have distinctly elbowed ones.


Termites are generally known to eat wooden structures because their diets consist of the cellulose within said structures to survive. In contrast, carpenter ants make their homes inside these wooden structures instead of eating them, often excavating wood shavings out as they burrow further in. Thus, if you observe these shavings strewn about on the floor near wooden parts or furnishings in your home, you are more likely facing a carpenter ant infestation instead of a termite one.


Termite habitats depend on their species. Unless a swarm is detected, you are more likely to see the signs of termites rather than the insects themselves. Key indicators to look for when suspecting a termite invasion includes discarded wings and wood damage, to name a few.

Drywood termites can be easily detected by the pellets or ‘droppings’ they might leave behind. Meanwhile, like any other ant species, carpenter ants tend to venture out in search of food; therefore, it is easy to notice them crawling about in your home.


While moisture attracts both termites and carpenter ants into a household, there are generally more distinguished ways that could cause an ant infestation in comparison to termites. But naturally, both are attracted to wood and thus, would likely look for easy entry points to them.

Unfortunately, this is where the list of attractants between the two pests deviates. As mentioned previously, carpenter ants do not eat wood but instead, make a home out of them. They typically eat other insects for nourishment along with other food sources. Hence, they can be seen wandering around areas where food is generally stored, such as the kitchen.


Due to their similarities, it is easy to mistake carpenter ants for termites and vice versa, especially when they fly in swarms. The key differences listed above should help determine which is which, but it may still be difficult to tell for some people. In that case, it may be time to call on a pest control professional to handle your pest problems.

If you are having trouble with ants or termites at home, let the professionals here at PestClinic take care of it for you. We employ effective pest control solutions that entirely remove infestations from the source safely and reliably. Fret not if you find yourself struggling with differentiating the two insects – we will conduct a thorough inspection and take the necessary actions to keep the situation at bay. For more information about our pest control solutions, do not hesitate to call us at +65 6397 5677.

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