Q:

How do you identify carpenter ants vs. termites?

A:

Quick Answer

Carpenter ants typically have four wings with rounded tips, while termites have longer, pointed wings. Carpenter ants also have front wings that are larger than the back wings, while termite wings are equal in length.

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Full Answer

Termite wings are very fragile, and they tend to break off in areas where the pests are active. Termite wings are also long in comparison to the insect's body, while the wings of the carpenter ant are proportional to the body. If a noticeable number of lost wings are present in the area, the infestation is probably termites rather than carpenter ants. Compare the insects' antennae to further confirm the identification. Termites have straight antennae, while the antennae of carpenter ants are bent. The abdomens of carpenter ants are noticeably smaller than the rear sections of the pests, while termites have straight abdomens that are equal in size to the rear sections of the insects.

Carpenter ants are typically 1/2 inch in length, while termites may be from 1/4 an inch to 3/8 inch in length. Termites may appear white or black, while carpenter ants are generally black and have a curved back. The wings of the carpenter ant also have black features, including black veins, that are visible to the naked eye. Termites do not have visible black features on the wings. The leavings of carpenter ants include sawdust-like material that can readily be identified as wood, while termite leavings appear pellet-like.

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