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Carpenter Ants Versus Termites

 In Blog, Carpenter Ants, Termites

red ants eating in a forest, up close

Homeowners aren’t usually experts when it comes to identifying pests. Usually, people are busy raising a family, working, and with all the other business of life. If you see a tiny black thing with wings damaging your property, you’ll probably shout or maybe curse.

To the naked eye, carpenter ants and termites are nearly indistinguishable, especially to a layperson. However, the treatments needed to eliminate such infestations are very different, so there’s a lot riding on getting the diagnosis right.

Knowing how they differ has important implications for treatment. Please keep reading to delve deeper into these pests.

Wings and Things

One reason carpenter ants and termites look so much alike is they both have two sets of wings, four in total. However, termites have wings of uniform size, whereas carpenter ants’ front wings are noticeably bigger than their back wings.

Carpenter ants also have pointed wings, while termite wings resemble the shape of a paddle. Shape aside, carpenter ants have a black dot on the tip of their wings and dark veins visible to the naked eye. Termites have creamy white, translucent wings.

Call us for pest control for carpenter ants if you notice that the little guys in your home have a block dot on their paddle-shaped, veiny wings.

Body Shape

People come in all shapes and sizes, and so do pests. Termite bodies tend to be the same width throughout with three sections — the head, thorax, and abdomen — that aren’t easy to distinguish.

In contrast, it’s easy to see the three different sections of the carpenter ant’s body because each section tapers into the next. If the little black things in your home have a lumpy body, you may have house termites.


Carpenter ants have jointed, elbowed antennae, whereas in termites, the antennae are smooth apart from some beadlike sections. Truthfully, these differences aren’t the best identifiers because it’s hard to notice them without a magnifying glass or microscope.

You can always call us for professional pest control in Toronto to come to your home and identify the pest before uprooting the infestation. If you opt for our Home Protection Plan, we’ll visit your home to inspect the premises and remove anything that attracts carpenter ants.

up close pic of a termite

Next, we’ll eliminate any existing pests or infestation, and do a preventative treatment. Whatever pests you have on your property will be killed, and no pests will replace them. Finally, we’ll do a follow-up inspection in 30 days and then another one in 60.

If somehow there are still pests, we’ll exterminate them free of charge.


One key differentiator between termites and carpenter ants is that only termites eat their domicile’s wood. Carpenter ants build nests indoors and outdoors but tend to prefer using wood that’s suffered moisture damage because it’s softer and easier to chew.

The wood making up the nest will look visibly different. Carpenter ants create clean-looking tunnels and their walls look sandpapered. You should also notice “frass” (soil, body parts, and sawdust) beneath the opening to the nest.

In contrast, termites look to make a nest in soft soil, but do hunt for food above ground. To stay safe from predators during the hunt, they build long tubes from mud and fecal matter called “exploratory tubes.”

You may notice these pencil-thick tubes along the side of exposed foundations. They keep termites safe from predators and invisible to the naked eye. That’s why you need expert technicians to find and identify termites and carpenter ants in Toronto and the GTA.

Knowing what their homes look like can help keep them out of yours. However, if they do get in, our ant extermination methods will take care of the problem.

Finding Ants Inside

Unsurprisingly, one of the surest ways to know you have an ant infestation is by finding a few inside your home. If you find a group of them, you can bet more aren’t far behind.

Don’t assume that the nest is necessarily in your home. Follow the trail back to the source, because ants travel up to 100 yards from the nest to find a food source. The nest could be in your home but it isn’t necessarily.

You shouldn’t be surprised if, when you follow the ants, it leads to spaces in and around plumbing, such as the kitchen and bathrooms. Ants are tiny and fit between the voids under bathtubs, the space between doors and windows, and elsewhere.

You may think that termites leave an obvious sign of their presence in the form of damage to wood. However, sometimes, what they tear through isn’t visible at all.

Termites hollow out wood along the grain, so it appears crushed or sunken at structural bearing points. Tap the wood with a hammer, and if there’s a dull, hollow sound, it’s likely infested. Wood that’s easier to break is also a sign of a likely infestation caused by termites.

Knowing how ants and termites behave indoors may help you identify exactly what you’re looking at. If you have any doubts about the little black things infesting your home, don’t hesitate to call GreenLeaf Pest Control at 416-998-9473. We can answer any questions you may have and clarify how our services work.

The fall is an excellent time to enjoy the warmth and security of your home. The brisk outdoors is only getting colder and darker sooner each night, so being inside feels extra snug. However, the last thing you need is a pest infestation to make you unnerved and pierce your tranquillity. You shouldn’t have to be an expert in pests, and you don’t, so long as you call us if you see carpenter ants or other pests in your home. They may look alike, but the extermination treatments are quite distinct. Call GreenLeaf Pest Control to fix the ants pest control problem soon before it gets any worse.

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