With termite swarm season about to take shape, there’s another insect people often confuse with termites.
It’s important to differentiate between two flying, wood-destroying pests — the carpenter ant and the termite. Both pests are very similar in color, size and shape. Knowing what pest you have will make getting rid of them faster, easier, and safer, saving you time and money in the long run.
According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. Homeowners are generally aware of the devastation termites can leave in their wake, but carpenter ants can also prove to be destructive to the wood found inside and outside of the home.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they come in contact with but instead hollow out galleries inside the wood for nesting and living as they feeding on food left behind by people (especially meats and sweets).
Carpenter ants are frequently mistaken for winged termites during mating season when the male and female ants leave the colony to find a suitable mate. If an infestation from either pest is left undetected for a prolonged period of time, they each can cause expensive damage.
There are certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate swarms of carpenter ants as compared to termites, the most important being the appearance of elbowed antennae and small or pinched waist with wings that are longer in the back than the front pair. In addition, carpenter ant wings are partially translucent, while termite wings are opaque or appear to be silver in color.
Although carpenter ants are not a typically a year-round concern for homeowners, during spring swarm season, they travel en masse to find new nesting locations. Their nests consist of an expansive network of tunnels and passages within the structure of your home. Over time, these nests can seriously weaken your home’s structural integrity.
Meanwhile, termites can be a huge problem anywhere. Also problematic are the nesting habits of many termite species which can make them difficult to spot. Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated.
The first step in controlling a pest problem is identifying the pest itself. If you are unsure which pest you’re dealing with or if you need help eliminating an infestation, contact your local pest control professional.
For more information, contact EHS Pest in Norwood.