October 23, 2021

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Distinction Between Termites and Ants & Easy methods to Inform Them Aside

Photograph: Nahid Hasan Ropak (Shutterstock)

Someday, you’re sitting in your front room watching TV or studying a ebook, and out of the blue see one thing out of the nook of your eye. It was tiny, dark-colored, and quick, however you didn’t get a very good take a look at it. You see one other one and monitor it throughout the room till you uncover an entire colony of those bugs residing rent-free in your house.

Earlier than you can begin to cope with them, you first have to determine what they’re. You observed both ants or termites, however are not sure which is which. Provided that they’re two completely different creatures that trigger several types of harm, it’s a good suggestion to seek out out slightly bit extra about your new roommates. In an article for BobVila.com, Melissa Graham breaks down the variations between ants and termites, together with when it’s time to name in knowledgeable.

Easy methods to inform the distinction between ants and termites

Let’s begin with their bodily appearances. Listed here are a few of the key variations between ants and termites, courtesy of Graham:


You’ve in all probability seen ants sooner or later, and know that they’re fairly darkish in shade—both a deep pink, brown, or black. Termites, alternatively, are translucent and light-colored or white.


In case you’re capable of rise up shut sufficient to those bugs to see their antennae, that may also provide a clue as to which insect you’re coping with. That’s as a result of ants have elbowed or bent antennae, whereas termites have straight antennae, Graham explains.

Our bodies

Society has us conditioned to have a look at—after which decide—different folks’s our bodies, and now it’s time to place that talent to make use of on bugs. A termite’s stomach doesn’t have an outlined waist, whereas ants have well-defined waists and extra rectangular our bodies, in accordance with Graham.


To make issues slightly trickier, there are sorts of each bugs that may fly, and every has 4 wings. Right here’s Graham with extra particulars:

Termites have wings which are equal in size and are longer than their our bodies, whereas flying ants’ wings are unequal in size. An ant’s again hind wings are shorter than its entrance fore wings, and they’re fairly proportional to their our bodies. Termites even have very fragile wings that may fall off simply, and for those who see fallen wings in your house, this will typically point out an infestation.

Locations you’ll discover ants or termites

One other clue as to which insect you’re coping with, is the place you discover it.

Out within the open, in broad daylight

Termites are likely to keep away from gentle, Graham explains. So except you’re on a mission devoted to discovering them open air, you in all probability haven’t seen them exterior. Ants, alternatively, aren’t shy, and also you’ve doubtless seen them crawling round open air, and/or at picnics (each actual and in cartoons).

Close to meals or wooden

One of many key variations between ants and termites is their diets. Ants aren’t choosy eaters: They feed on vegetation, animals, and any meals waste or particles. They’ll usually be seen on kitchen counters (particularly when there’s meals neglected), crawling round rubbish cans, and surrounding pet meals dishes.

Termites, alternatively, solely eat issues which are wealthy in cellulose, like wooden and paper, Graham says. So as a substitute of discovering them close to sources of human meals, you’re extra more likely to spot them in drywall, cardboard, insulation, wooden, and different stuff with that tasty cellulose.

And for those who discover wooden harm in your house—particularly piles of sawdust or wooden pellets—and suspect bugs, there’s a very good probability that you just’re coping with termites. Ants usually don’t trigger wooden harm.

Easy methods to do away with ants and termites

Run-of-the-mill home ants, for probably the most half, are one thing you’re capable of maintain your self. (Right here’s how to do this.) However for those who suspect that you just’re coping with fireplace or carpenter ants, Graham says that you just may wish to contemplate getting knowledgeable to asses the scenario. Equally, due to the structural harm that termites may cause (which isn’t all the time noticeable), it’s additionally finest to seek the advice of knowledgeable for those who assume these home-wreckers have moved in with you.

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