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Carpenter Ant or Termite? Know What They Look Like

Carpenter ants and termites have more in common than their ability to damage your home or business. There's a strong physical resemblance between these two insects, but a careful appraisal will allow you to tell them apart. Here's what you need to know about identifying carpenter ants and termites.

If It's a Carpenter Ant

There are certain physical features that can help you determine if the pest that's invaded your residential or commercial property is a carpenter ant. There are several species of these social insects, and the details of their appearance vary slightly, but they tend to be black, brown or reddish in color and measure anywhere from 3.4 millimeters to 13 millimeters in size.

Like other kinds of ants, carpenter ants have pinched waists and bodies that are divided into three distinct segments. Their heads are topped by two antennae that are elbowed and segmented. While ants are normally wingless, when they swarm, you may be able to spot the four wings on their backs. If the insect that you're looking at is a carpenter ant, then its front wings will be noticeably larger than its hind wings.

If It's a Termite

It is not uncommon for people to misidentify termites as carpenter ants. While they are similar in appearance, a closer look will allow you to detect specific traits that make it clear which insect you're dealing with. Termites vary in color depending on their species and their role in the colony. They can be tan, beige, yellow, reddish, brown or black. Workers normally measure between 6 millimeters and 12 millimeters in length, but kings and queens can exceed 25 millimeters in size.

Body shape can be extremely helpful in telling the difference between carpenter ants and termites. Where ants have clear waists, termites have boxy, rectangular bodies. Their antennae offer another clue. While an ant's antennae bend, a termite's antennae are straight and appear beaded. A careful inspection of the wings will also help you with identification. Like ants, termites normally do without wings, but they have two pairs of wings when they are swarming. Unlike ants, termites have wings that are all the same size and shape.

Whether you've discovered carpenter ants or termites on your property, you have a serious problem that requires a professional response. Both of these pests can be extremely destructive, so if you want to protect your property, it is crucial that you seek out the assistance of an experienced pest control professional immediately. At Bug Man Exterminating, quality and service top our list of priorities. A full-service pest control provider, we take pride in offering effective pest control services throughout southwest Virginia. If pests are a problem, contact us today to request a free estimate.

Be sure to check out our service area to see if we can make it out to your home or business. We proudly serve Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as a number of other surrounding towns.

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