Abarb Pest Services Blog

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How to Tell the Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

Spring cleaning is upon us, which means we are officially in the season where you can find all sorts of pests who have been living at your house rent-free.

As you move furniture around and clean those hidden areas, pay special attention to any dark, damp areas.

Is your wood hollow, have rough or smooth holes or mud tubes? Do you see any droppings? What you don’t see every day can be an entire colony of ants or termites hiding out in your walls, gnawing your house away. Instead of waiting until you need to remodel your house due to significant structural damage, find out which pest is haunting your home so you can evict them for good!

Carpenter Ants

The ants go marching one by one… into your house. These pests can find ways into your home that you may never think of and colonize quickly since they can mature into adults in just a few days. Carpenter ants love to build nests in damp, damaged or rotten wood. They also have wings, so they often can be mistaken for termites.


Termites also can colonize quickly, especially in spring. These pests are the hardest to find and can cause thousands of dollars of damage before you notice them. Termites are known to swarm, and their most populous season is Spring, where reproduction is higher. They have been known to leave above-ground formations and mud tubes as roadways when they cannot survive certain conditions.

The Difference

Both pests have a taste for destroying wood but can leave different signs of damage. That is why you should pay close attention to figure out which pest is the culprit.


Unlike termites, carpenter ants have a narrow thorax, or the mid-section. They can be very large and nocturnal, so you can find them easiest at night. Carpenter ants are black but can have a mix of red and black, with translucent, reddish-brown wings. They can grow up to five-eighths of an inch. Termites are a dark brown or black color, growing up only to three-eighths inches with translucent milky/smoky wings. These wings sometimes overlap and are long enough to sometimes be longer than its body.


Carpenter ants start slow, first nesting in decayed wood and then expanding into insulations and sound wood. These ants chew while excavating their galleries meticulously, giving the appearance that the wood has been professionally sanded. However, just because they chew the wood, does not mean they eat it. The pests that do eat it are termites. They prefer hard spring wood, and the damage results in a layered appearance. One in 30 homes each year is reported to get termites, and there is a good amount that are misdiagnosed and not treated properly.

In Conclusion

Both of these pests can be a sign of trouble for you and your home. They both can create thousands of dollars in damages that only professional help can take care of.

In order to give you peace of mind, let the professionals help you so you can get assistance quickly and thoroughly. So, if you have either of these pests, contact Abarb Pest Services today!

What Does a Pest Control Specialist Do?
Professional Elimination of Pests From Your Home