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Termites vs. Carpenter Ants

Eastern Subterranean Termites

  • Colonies are located in the soil.

  • Food consists of wood or wood products and other dry plant materials. They will also feed within the stems of a woody plant such as sunflowers and dahlias.

  • They attack woody material that comes in contact with the soil.

  • They construct shelter tubes of mud over concrete and other inorganic material to reach wood that is not in direct contact with the soil.

  • Workers are the most numerous, they are creamy white, wingless, eyeless, and have soft bodies.

  • Swarmers are the only termites with wings, and that can be exposed to dry air conditions.

  • Moisture is critical to termite survival. They must maintain contact with the soil unless they have an above ground source of moisture.

  • Termites do structural damage.

  • Termite infestations require the soil to be treated in order to kill the termites.

Carpenter Ant

Black Carpenter Ants

  • Black Carpenter Ants prefer humid conditions.

  • Moisture problems and Carpenter Ants are nearly inseparable.

  • Carpenter Ants make their nests in wood that has been wet and infested with Brown Rot Fungus.

  • Carpenter Ants do NOT eat the wood.

  • Carpenter Ants hollow out galleries in wood to make their nests. The sawdust from this activity is very fine and feels like cornmeal to the touch. They discard this sawdust outside of the nest area. 

  • Large colonies can cause structural problems depending on the location of their nest.

  • Carpenter Ants may be found partially in wood and partially in voids such as wall or roof voids.

  • Many colonies are brought in with building materials.

  • Vines, overhanging branches, and electrical wires all grant easy access for Carpenter Ants.

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