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How Can I Tell the Difference Between Ants and Termites?

There are many differences between ants and termites. The main one is the amount of damage they can cause to your home. Sure, ants are a serious nuisance, but they won’t feast on the timber in your home like termites will. Termites can often be mistaken for ants, and this is a big problem for Australian homeowners. There are lots of misconceptions out there about termites, so we have set the record straight, read our Termite Facts and Myths blog

Although ants and termites look deceptively similar from a distance, up close there are striking differences – so it’s important you know how to tell the difference.


The Characteristics

Ants

Ants are extremely motivated by food, and love feeding on sweet things like sugar and fruit. They’re also known for working together, often leaving a scent behind to alert other ants that food is nearby.

Termites

Termites feed on the cellulose found in timber, and they’re partial to damp or rotting wood. Many of them live underground and use tunnels to make their way towards a food source. Termites work together much like ants, which is often why the two can be confused. Termites are often attracted to damp, rotting wood around homes. The problem is, that often leads them to attack the timber inside your home too, such as walls, floorboards and everything in between.



Physical Traits

Unfortunately, ants and termites are usually a similar size and this can lead to a lot of confusion between the two. Here are a few ways to tell whether you’re dealing with the destructive force of termites, or an irritating army of ants.

Abdomen

This is one way to tell the two species apart. A termite’s abdomen has a blunt end, with no clear waist visible. Ants, however, do have a waist (referred to as a pedicel), and the end of their body is pointed. It’s easier to spot termites because an ant’s body is in three sections, whereas a termite just has two.

Antennae

An ant has antennae that are elbowed, or bent. Comparatively, termites have straight antennae that looks like a series of tiny beads. You’ll need to get up-close and personal to see it, but this is another very clear difference between the two.

Eyes

Here’s another pretty easy way to spot the difference between ants and termites. Termites don’t have eyes, whereas you can clearly see an ant’s eyes on the side of their heads.

Colouring

Firstly, it’s important to note that like any species, various types of ants and termites will come in different colours. As a general rule though, ants are usually darker in colour. Termites, however, often appear white, and can sometimes even look translucent.  

Call in the Professionals and Stay Pest-Free!

Think you’ve got an ant or termite problem? Call the professionals at Bruin Pest Management in South East Queensland. We’ll assess your home and handle any current issues you have with pests. If you want to keep your home safe from ants, termites or any other pests, contact us at Bruin Pest Management for an obligation-free quote today.

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