11 Differences Between Carpenter Ants VS Termites

Termites and carpenter ants both are insects which have the capability of destroying wood in their own unique ways. One eats wood, and the other makes its home in the wooden structure by digging holes in them. Whether it may be total consumption of wood or just seeing traces of saw wood dust lying on the floor, it can make you worry and run down in tears making you look for ways and hacks to get rid of this kind of infestation at your home. So termite damage or carpenter ant damage hardly makes any difference for you as in both cases you are the one who is suffering the loss and such things should be immediately noted down and proper action should be taken in order to prevent further losses.

So let us understand the difference between carpenter ants and termites depending on the various factors.

Differences Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

- Wood damage factor

You can also make out the difference of carpenter ants vs termites by having a look at the way in which they damage your wooden belongings. Termites consume wood and are also considered as wood eaters whereas carpenter ants are not wood eaters, but they dig out wood and make themselves a good tunnel for their entry and exit. The carpenter ants do not use up the sawdust that they scatter they don’t eat it but will undoubtedly create a mess for you and dig holes in your wooden furniture or doors. But when you talk about the termites, they generate frass but it is actually their droppings, and if you spot termite droppings then you can be pretty sure that your home is being infested with termites.  

- Eating habits

You can also make out the difference between carpenter ants vs termites by having a close eye on their eating habits. As said earlier that the termites are wood eaters then it is obvious that they are going to feed upon the wooden items where they start inhibiting place for themselves. But carpenter ants are not the same they do dig holes in your wooden belongings but will always move out of this place to find themselves a good meal as they are omnivorous and will not rely on wood for their food. So it is quite probable that you can spot the worker caste of these carpenter ant families coming out in search of food whereas the termites will not be located outside because they can already enjoy their food in their place of shelter. But in both the cases whether it may be a carpenter ant or a termite you would probably not like the sight of witnessing these ant family members.

- Attack factor

Select Columns Layout

Termites and carpenter ants can also be differentiated on the basis of the ways they attack your house, and other man-made things of your house. If termites have infested your house then you can see mud tubes built by these termites, these mud tubes are formed by the termites, but carpenter ants are not capable of creating such mud tubes. These mud tubes are built by termites in order to hide their presence in your home, but if you plot such mud tubes in your house, then it is high time for you to get alert and call the experienced professionals or use other methods to control the termite infestation at your home. The carpenter ants build their homes in wood, but they do not need any such moisture to adapt to their habitat and thus not have the need of making mud tubes.

- Difference in appearance

If you are sitting to compare carpenter ants vs termites, then their appearance is also one of the major factors that can help you to differentiate amongst the two. The antennas and their body shape is a distinguishing factor. The antennas possessed by termites are a bit curved and looks as if there are a series of small sized balls stacked one on top of other. But for the carpenter ants, their antennas are like handlebars and extremely different from termites.

Carpenter Ants


- Colour of these insects

The carpenter ants are reddish black or jet black in colour, but it is not the same in the case of termites. The queen and king of the termites are black in colour, and the rest of the termites are slightly cream or pale orange in colour.

- Visibility factor

If you plot signs of discarded wings, wood damage and mud tubes then you can get a hint in your mind that there is a probability of termite infestation at your home. In case if carpenter ants infest your house, you can sight them directly as they come out of their shelters in search of food and it is not that it comes out in solitaire but in a whole group for hunting food. The termites can only be visible to you when they are out for swarming, but carpenter ants can be visible to you in both the case of swarming and hunting for food.

- Sources of attraction

Carpenter Ants

Termites are only attracted to wood and solely wood for their shelter as well as their food consumption, but carpenter ants are attracted to wood as well as food. They have an inclination towards sweet things and may be waiting for a chance to steal your honey and sugar food items. So make sure that you keep all such sugary things well packed and out of reach so that these carpenter ants do not find a place to host a party for their colony in your house.

- Destruction intensity

Talking about the destruction these insects can cause then the termites are more destructive in nature and can make you suffer massive losses. Meanwhile, carpenter ants are less destructive in comparison to the termites.

- Difference in their wings

If we talk about the similarity amongst the termites and carpenter ants, then they have two sets of wings, or you may say four wings, but if you move further to find out the difference, then there is a thin line of variation amongst the pair of wings that they have. The wings of a termite are uniform in size and are equal in length whereas the wings of a carpenter ant are not uniform. The front wings of a carpenter ant are slightly bigger than those in comparison to the back wings. If you move beyond the size of the wings, then another notable factor to find out the difference by having a look at their wings is that the wings of a termite are paddled shape whereas carpenter ants have pointed wings.

a) Wings in accordance to their bodies

If you have a look at the termites, then you will find that these insects have wings more prolonged than the size of their original bodies whereas it is not the same in the case of a carpenter ant.

b) Veins of these insects

The veins of carpenter ants are highly visible whereas the veins of a termite are not visible with bare eyes. At the tip of the wings of a carpenter ant, a black dot is present making the veins visible with the naked eye, and this is not possible in the case of a termite.

c) Strength of the wings

The wings of a termite are fragile and can easily break off even with a simple touch on their wings whereas the wings of a carpenter ant are strong enough and cannot peel off with a bare touch of the hands.

- Waist size

The waist size of the termites is comparatively broader than the carpenter ants. So if you sit down to compare carpenter ants vs termites, then you can easily find out the difference by having a look at the waist size. The thin waists belong to a carpenter ant whereas the broad waists belong to the termites.

- Segments

The carpenter ants have three parts in their bodies comprising of abdomen thorax and head, and on the other hand, the termites have only two sections that are their head and thorax.

Life Stage Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

If you have a closer look at the life stage of the termites and carpenter ants then also you can make out the difference between the two. Both the insects undergo the process of metamorphosis, but the only difference is that the termites follow up with the gradual metamorphosis process whereas the carpenter ants follow the complete metamorphosis process. Gradual metamorphosis includes the stage of being an egg hatching up to a nymph and then turning to an adult. In the complete metamorphosis process, the stages involved are egg, larvae, pupa and then finally resulting in an adult, this process has an extra stage in comparison to the gradual metamorphosis stage.

Ant galleries vs carpenter galleries

The galleries that are created by the carpenter ants are smooth and clean in nature, and you can quickly make out that such a gallery has been hallowed down by the carpenter ants. Nearby such galleries you can also find sawdust which is also known as ‘frass’ and insect parts. In case of termites, the hallowed galleries are also surrounded by hard pellets that do not resemble frass and wood dust.

So now the next time you plot such galleries and holes in your wooden furniture’s or other wood items, then you can easily make out if it is a carpenter ant colony or a termite colony that has infested your home. Whatever the case may be you can’t sit with your hands on hand and wait for these insects to vacate your house on their own. You yourself have to take all the possible steps and measure to get rid of infestation at your home. So here are few remedies that you can adapt to keep these pests from further multiplying and seeking shelter within your boundaries.

How to get rid of termites and carpenter ants

If you are looking out for ways on how to get rid of both of them then here are some sure shot tips to help you out from freeing your house from these pests.

Sugar and baking soda hack

You can mix equal amounts of sugar and baking soda crystals with each other and keep it as bait for making the carpenter ants fall into the trap. The sugar crystals will attract the carpenter ants to consume the mixture and the baking soda will kill these ants in a natural way.

Flood the mud tubes

If you are spotting mud tubes in your house, then one of the easiest solutions is to drown the mud holes.  You can flood it with water so that the termites get removed in a natural way. Sunlight is also another natural thing that can safeguard your home from these destructive termites. Make sure that your house has enough sunlight penetration so that these termites don’t nest in your house.

Natural Oils

clovw oil

Peppermint and clove oil can also be used for keeping carpenter ants and termites away from your home. Clove oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil can all serve the same purpose of repelling these pests and keeping your home safe from being damaged.


Vinegar is a natural and handy deterrent that you can easily find in your kitchen. You just need to spray a solution of water and vinegar at the trails where you find these carpet ants and termites building their nests and leave the rest for the vinegar’s disinfecting properties to keep these pests away.


You also get to buy insecticides in the market that you can use at your home to get rid of carpenter ants and termites. But make sure that you are using in such a way that your kids don’t have any chance of consuming it in any case.

So since you have understood the differences between termites and carpenter ants probably, you will be able to make out the difference when you find these ant family species the next time in your house. You can also use the remedies mentioned above to keep your home safe from such damages and also to have a pest free home. Getting rid of them naturally or by using insecticides is entirely your call but make sure you are using it carefully so that you don’t regret the use of such methods.

Leave a Comment