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Termites Vs. Ants-Here's How to Tell Them Apart

August 26, 2021

Are you not quite sure whether you’re seeing termites vs. ants? These tips can help you identify which insect you're seeing around your property and if you need professional help.

1. Antennae - Termites have straight antennae while ants antennae are elbowed

If you look closely at the antennae of the species you’re trying to identify to determine whether it’s an ant or a termite. While ants have elbowed or bent antennae, termites have straight antennae. Although this may seem like a subtle difference, it’s enough to tell the insects apart so you can proceed with extermination or other services should you need them.

2. Body - Termites have straight, wide bodies but ants have narrow, segmented bodies. 

If you’re close enough to compare the bodies of termites to ants, you’ll see that the abdomen on a termite has no defined waist. Ants, which have a well-defined, segmented body, are very narrow towards the mid-section.. If you can inspect both insects closely, this difference can help you determine which pest is present.

3. Food - Ants are drawn to food debris. Termites prefer cellulose-rich things like wood and paper.

Ants are omnivores, so their diet consists of both plants and animals. They’re also attracted to debris from food, which is why you might have seen a line or group of ants surrounding waste from a public trash can or pet food bowl. Termites, vs ants however, strictly consume cellulose-based items such as wood and paper. They’re more likely to be found in drywall, cardboard, insulation, wood, and other materials containing cellulose.

Wings - Termites have wings of equal lengths, while flying ants have different sized wings

Both flying ants and winged termites have four wings and the appearance may help you determine which one you may be dealing with. Termites have wings that are equal in length and are longer than their bodies, while flying ants’ wings are unequal in length. An ant’s back hind wings are shorter than its front fore wings, and they are pretty proportional to their bodies. Termites also have very fragile wings that can fall off easily, and if you see fallen wings in your home, this can sometimes indicate an infestation.

If you believe you've identified the invader or need help, give us a call. Professionals like Essential Pest Control can help with next steps to rid your home of ants and termites. 520-886-3029

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