Are These Carpenter Ants or Termites?
February 28, 2013
Carpenter Ants and Eastern Subterranean Termites, the most prevalent species of termites in Pennsylvania, are both wood destroying insects that live in colonies, making it easy for many homeowners to mistake one for the other. It is very important to know how to tell them apart as they both require different methods of eradication.
Carpenter ants and termites have several other differences, apart from their difference in their bodily structure.
- Carpenter ants do not eat wood to gain any nutritional value; they solely use it for shelter to colonize.
- Wood galleries that have been hollowed out by carpenter ants are smooth and neat, they are also accompanied by piles of fine sawdust shavings called “frass”.
- Many homeowners are alerted to the presence of carpenter ants by hearing a faint crunching and rustling sound coming from a wall, window sill, or ceiling.
Eastern Subterranean Termites
- Termites are unique in the fact that they are the only insects that can digest cellulose. Cellulose is a very rich energy source found in dead wood.
- Termite wood galleries are filled with soil, chewed wood, and excrement.
- Generally homeowners notice that they may have an active termite issue when they see termite swarmers, also known as termite reproductives. This occurrence is most common in the spring.
- Termite swarmers shed their wings when they enter into their next phase of development; finding discarded wings is another good sign that you may have active termites. Generally, the wings are found near windowsills and doors.
- Termites generally colonize in the ground and they build “mud tubes” to travel to and from the wood. These mud tunnels can normally be found running up and down the sides of home foundations, basements, and walls.
I am sure I have termites, now what?
- Call Green Pest Solutions, your #1 Local Green Pest Professionals, to inspect and assess the property for conducive conditions and all signs of damage. This will allow you to get the most accurate price quote and the best treatment options geared towards your specific property.
- The two most common forms of treatment for subterranean termites are a liquid soil treatment, or installing a baiting system.
a. A liquid treatment is generally performed by digging a shallow trench around the outside perimeter foundation of the property, and in some cases drilling a hole into the structure, and filling it with a termiticide.
b. A baiting system is a great option for homeowners with a well or pond on their property, since you cannot treat with most liquid termiticides with 25-30 feet of a well. A termite baiting system is installed by placing wood baits inside of a termite monitoring station and burying multiple stations underground around the perimeter of the home.
I am sure I have carpenter ants, now what?
- Carpenter ants are social creatures so the most effective treatment will be the one that targets the colony. It is recommended to have a thorough pest control specialist inspect the property to search for the colony, which can be done by locating sawdust piles and watching for movement of foraging ants.
- Carpenter ant colonies can be found in a variety of places so there are several different treatment options that are used on a case by case basis depending where the colony is.
- Dust formulations are very effective when treating for a colony inside of a wall void.
- Liquid insecticides can be used around the perimeter of property to create an invisible barrier that the ants can travel through and bring back to their colony.
- Carpenter ant baits, placed where ants are suspected to be, are also proven to be an effective form of treatment.
When in doubt, give Green Pest Solutions a call at 877-636-9469. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule you for a free inspection with one of our knowledgeable pest control specialists!
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Guide to Termites
Protect your home from the devastation that termites can cause by knowing how to identify them, warning signs of their presence, and steps to prevent an infestation.