Termites vs. Carpenter Ants: What’s Destroying Your House

A Carpenter Ant
A Carpenter Ant

Both termites and carpenter ants are wood destroying pests that can cause expensive damage to Monmouth County, NJ homes. Both insect species live in huge social colonies governed by caste systems that dictate each individual’s role in the colony. And both termites and carpenter ants expand their colonies by swarming. However, these two insect species are also very different.

How They’re Different

Termites and carpenter ants both damage wood but in different ways:

Termites do not live in wood but in huge nests deep underground. They tunnel through the earth to feed on wood, consuming the cellulous fiber.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they live in it. Like other ants, they are omnivorous, feeding on other insects, plant juices, sweets, fruit, meat and grease. They damage wood by tunneling huge galleries and passages into the wood to house their colonies. In time, wood becomes honeycombed with their tunnels, destroying its structural integrity.

Watch for Swarmers

We are entering swarming season (March through June) when termite and carpenter ant activity is often discovered. Because both of these pests do their damage out of site, the presence of swarmers is often the first indication that a home is infested.

Swarmers of both species look like winged ants, although carpenter ants have the pinched waist and elbowed antenna typical of ants. Both have grayish white wings. In termites, fore and hind wings are the same length and nearly twice as long as the insect’s body. Carpenter ant swarmers have longer fore wings than hind wings.

Both termites and carpenter ants can cause significant damage to your Monmouth County, NJ home. If you spot swarmers this spring, protect your home by calling the ant and termite exterminators NJ at Allison Pest Control.