Pest Control: Difference between Carpenter Ants and Termites

Pest Control: Difference between Carpenter Ants and Termites

When it comes to the damage that carpenter ants and termites cause to your home, it can be easy to get the two insects confused. And the similarities don’t stop there! Both of them look very similar and both will establish colonies inside your home. However, knowing the difference between the two is important because this knowledge goes a long way towards successful residential pest control strategies.


Unfortunately, there are thousands of different species of termites. Thankfully, we’re not going to go through every one of them. The three most common to our area are the subterranean, dry wood and damp wood termites.

The key difference between dry wood and damp wood termites is the terrain they call home. As you guessed, dry wood termites seek sturdy wood which is free from moisture. Dampwood termites prefer to flourish in damp, rotting wood. They require access to water in order to survive. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, live deep within the soil. They make their way to wood through the ground, and since they do so undetected, they’re considered the most dangerous type.

The single biggest component of a termite’s diet is wood. Trees, lumber, and homes are their among their favourites. Since a commanding percentage of North American homes are built with wood framing, their unique taste can be devastating for homeowners.

Carpenter Ants

Like termites, there are many different types of ant. The first thing to consider is that they all have the same body shape, split into four distinguishable parts: the head, back, waist and abdomen. While the majority of ants are harmless, an infestation of carpenter ants can be every bit the red alarm that termites can be. True, they’re more likely to make their way to your sugar jar for a three-course meal, but they’ll eat your home inside-out getting there. Carpenter ants remove wood to create tunnels and homes for their nests.


By knowing the differences between the two pests, you’re one step ahead in controlling them. One important difference is their body shapes. As previously mentioned, carpenter ants have a head, back, waist, and abdomen. Termites consist of only a head and back. While termites must eat and digest wood in order to survive, carpenter ants prefer sugary foods.

They may both burrow through the wooden structure of your home, but they do so in very different ways. Termites, hungry to fill their bellies, munch through the wood with little reason or pattern – they create messy tunnels whichever way they please. If you find smooth, strategic tunnels instead, then you’ve found the work of carpenter ants.

Despite their differences, there is no debating that both termites and carpenter ants are an incredibly destructive insect which requires expert residential pest control.

How to Protect Your Home

Carpenter ants and termites can produce several nests within your home so getting rid of them is easier said than done. Even if you manage to remove 99% of the pests yourself, the remaining 1% can start a whole new colony.

Truly Nolen’s Total Termite Protection Plan℠ is the most complete and innovative termite protection plan in North America. This program safeguards your home by focusing crucially on both the structure and soil. Treatment areas include all of the following:

  • Attics
  • Eaves
  • Walls
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Plumbing pipes
  • Foundations
  • Slabs

No stone is left unturned as our ground treatment provides complete and comprehensive protection. Common entry points are also assessed before highly knowledgeable staff produce your specially customized treatment plan. You have every reason to be confident with our services and we stand behind our work with a fully backed guarantee.