To the untrained eye, the differences between termites and ants are negligible. However, the impact on your home is very severe. See if it’s termite swarms or ants by reading on.

Important distinctions between termites and ants

A closer look at the bug will reveal observable physical differences that make telling a termite from a carpenter ant apart easy.

To closely inspect the bug, you can use a bright light, a magnifying glass, or even just your unaided eye.

Body Type

When examining the insect’s body, pay special attention to the area around the abdomen.

Termites have a body shape that is more rectangular and lacks a “waist,” with no center constriction. On the other hand, the waist of the carpenter ant is restricted and clearly defined.


An insect’s feelers can also reveal a lot about it. Termites have straight, beaded antennae, while carpenter ants have bowed antennae.


The two insects are winged creatures since they each have four wings.

Although you would say, “Well, that’s not useful,” in all honesty, this characteristic is one of the better methods to tell them apart.

The wings of reproductive termites are the same size and form as their bodies and are the same length. A carpenter ant’s front forewings are longer than its back hind wings, but neither set of wings appears unusually long or out of proportion to the ant’s body.

Termites’ wings don’t have the same level of tenacity as ants’ do. Termite wings can be easily eliminated. Since they are frequently seen close to the opening of a termite nest, the loose wings can be used to identify a termite infestation.

Additionally, bear in mind that many insects that resemble flying termites are harmless. As a result, you must confirm that the insects are truly termites before moving on to the following step.


Workers of reddish or dark-colored ants are frequently seen out in the open searching for food. Termite workers, on the other hand, are clear, pale, or creamy white in color, and they avoid light.

Unless their colony is harmed, termites are generally not observed.

Origins of the Infestation

Termites’ primary food supply is cellulose, a type of naturally occurring fiber found in wood and wooden structures.

The primary cause of termite infestations is this convenient food source.

The following list includes some typical causes of termite infestations in residential structures:

  • Wood piles: If you chop firewood or keep logs on your property to throw into your fireplace when you need them, you run the danger of drawing termites into your home. Wood piles and wood shavings are a wonderful source of food for termites, which can lead to an infestation in your home. If you keep your firewood on your property, make sure it is at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Mulch: If your outdoor mulch pile contacts your home, termites will get inside. They will get inside your house through foundational cracks and seriously destroy it with termites. Keep mulch away from your property whenever you can to prevent it from coming into close touch with it as mulch is typically made of wood chips.

Near your home, crumbs, food that has been dropped, piles of trash, and timber can all attract carpenter ants. Like termites, carpenter ants are drawn to wood.

Because their jaws are less powerful than termites’, carpenter ants cannot eat wood. On the other hand, carpenter ants search for soft, moist wood that they may use to create tunnels from which to nurse their young.

How to get rid of carpenter ants and termites

Due to the aforementioned distinctions, there are different effective management approaches for termites and carpenter ants. Carpenter ants may typically be eliminated by eliminating the factors that attracted them in the first place, but termite control typically requires a professional.

If you do discover winged insects that mimic ants inside your home or another structure, it is advised to make an effort to collect a sample for identification. You can compare the sample with pictures and pictures you discovered online, or you can show it to a pest control specialist.


Despite the fact that both insects are pests and necessary to the environment, they should never reside inside or close to your home. Even though ants can be a pain, relatively few of them are actually dangerous to your building.

However, termites are to blame for more than $5 billion in damages to US homeowners that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Recognition and knowledge are necessary in order to correctly identify any flying insect you are examining.