Winged termites in Iowa - Springer Professional Home Services

Distinguishing between termites and flying ants, specifically carpenter ants, can pose a significant challenge. Carpenter ants, known for their potential to cause extensive damage, can easily be mistaken for termites due to their appearance and destructive behavior. If you find termites in your home, it’s crucial to understand that they exhibit unique characteristics and behaviors that necessitate specialized treatment methods. At Springer Professional Home Services, our pest control specialists are equipped with the necessary tools and expertise to effectively address and prevent damage caused by either pest.

Identifying Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

To manage infestations of wood-destroying pests effectively, recognizing whether you’re dealing with carpenter ants or termites is essential. Here’s how to differentiate between the two:

  • Physical attributes: Compared to termites, carpenter ants are generally larger and have more distinct physical features such as a narrower waist, elongated antennae, and wings of varying sizes. Termites display a more uniform body shape, with less prominent features and wings that are the same size.
  • Presence: While termites might remain hidden within your home’s structure for extended periods, carpenter ants are more visible. Signs of their presence include piles of wood shavings where they’ve excavated and discarded wings near entry points.
  • Feeding habits: Unlike termites that consume cellulose directly from wood, carpenter ants feed on other insects, including termites, and do not eat the wood while making their tunnels.

Assessing the Damage: Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

The type of damage caused by these pests can also provide clues to their identity. Carpenter ants tend to target moist or decaying wood initially before moving on to intact wood. While the external damage may not always be apparent, a large number of ants near woodwork can be a significant indicator.

Termites, in contrast, consume the cellulose in wood, leaving behind a distinctive layered appearance. They gain access to homes using mud tubes they construct from the soil, connecting their nests to potential entry points such as basement windows and doors. Carpenter ants leave many visible signals and can be detected early, in contrast, termites stay hidden leading to late detection after damage has already been done. It’s estimated that termite damage amounts to $500 billion annually worldwide.

Solving Your Termite or Carpenter Ant Problem

Should you find yourself facing an infestation of termites or carpenter ants, immediate action is required to mitigate the damage. Engaging in regular inspections by a professional pest control service, such as Springer Professional Home Services, is a proactive measure to protect your home. Our team of exterminators specializes in the detection and prevention of infestations, ensuring your home remains safe from the threat of wood-destroying insects throughout the year. Contact us at Springer Professional Home Services for a free, no-obligation quote!

Back to Termite Exterminators – Control – Removal

Termites vs Flying Ants

Serving Central Iowa since 1989

Des Moines | West Des Moines | Cedar Rapids | Davenport | Iowa City | Urbandale

Marshalltown | Fort Dodge | Waterloo | Ankeny | Ames | Altoona | Bondurant | Waukee

Carpenter ants are frequently confused with termites in Des Moines IA - Learn how to tell them apart with expert info from Springer Professional Home Services!

Spring is right around the corner, meaning it’s nearly swarming season. Flying ants, also known as carpenter ants, are one of the biggest threats this time of year. They are second, though, to the dangers of termites! Both of these wood-destroying insects may be damaging, but termites are more of a threat to property owners throughout Des Moines. They are also often confused for each other, as they look quite similar as swarmers. It’s important to learn how to tell them apart. For more info on termites vs. flying ants, keep reading for expert tips from the termite exterminators at Springer Professional Home Services!

What do Termites vs. Flying Ants Look Like?

It can be easy to confuse these two wood-destroying insects, but there are a couple of key differences to make note of:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers are black in color or occasionally red. Carpenter ants measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Their wings are translucent with a reddish brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant. Carpenter ant swarmers are bigger than termite swarmers!
  2. Termite swarmers are black to brown in color and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are a translucent to slightly milky or smoky color. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body; this is the best way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.

Winged ant vs. termite in Des Moines IA - Springer Professional Home Services

Wood-Destroying Insect Behavior

Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into sound wood, insulation, or wall voids. Galleries excavated by carpenter ants appear to have been sanded down. For the most part, carpenter ant damage does not amount to the potential damage of a termite infestation.

On the other hand, termites make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, porches, or any other area of the property in contact with soil. Grown colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day. Because their colonies can grow to such massive numbers, termites are considered much more dangerous than carpenter ants.

How to Get Rid of Termites & Carpenter Ants

If you’ve discovered the signs of termites or flying ants, it’s time to call a termite exterminator. The team at Springer knows how distressing these insects can be, and work to keep you, your family, and your home protected from them all year long. For more information on how we can keep you free of termites and carpenter ants, give our team a call!