Carpenter Ants and Termites – what’s the difference?
Carpenter ants love moist areas and dry wood. They cause damage as they tunnel through wood to create their “galleries” as seen in the photo above. You may find little piles of sawdust with ant bodies.
Carpenter ants have 3 body segments; some have a red center section. Carpenter ants come in all sizes and are very hard to identify. Some carpenter ants are all black and as small as 3/8”, so just because it’s small you cannot assume it is a sugar ant. Carpenter ants are noctural so if you think you hear chewing in the walls at night, you are not going mad – you probably have ants tunneling in your bedroom wall.
In cold weather they go dormant. You cannot treat them in the winter anyway. Carpenter ants swarm in the spring so if they come back with the warm weather get a pro in to treat your home. They will treat the whole property because there may be satellite nests that will are hard to locate.
Termites have small black bodies and long wings. They swarm in the spring and in the fall when the rain begins. They cause more structural damage than carpenter ants because they consume wood for food rather than just digging tunnels. As you can see in the photo above, there can be a lot of damage hiding behind your drywall.
They create mud tunnels which often can be found near the house’s foundation:
They often come up the expansion joint between the foundation wall and the floor. Termites love sandy soil so that means that the land between the Country Club area in Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach is prime habitat for them.
Ways to prevent infestation are:
- regular inspection, especially foundation walls.
- trim vegetation close to the house
- keep all wood from contacting soil
- repair any water leaks
If you see ants – get a sample! It’s the only way to identify if it’s a destructive wood eater or a harmless nuisance.