Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

Western Exterminating Haltom City Texas Fort Worth pest control entomology

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

People commonly mistake carpenter ants for termites, but rest assured that having termites is much worse than having carpenter ants. This uncertainty can become even more apparent because of the winged form that both insects have; not only that but they usually swarm close to the same time of year.

Carpenter Ant Physical Characteristics

  • 3 distinct body regions: head, thorax, abdomen
  • Workers are red & black to all black
  • Elbowed antennas
  • Wings are different in shape, 2 pairs of wings, each pair different in length

Termite Physical Characteristics

  • 2 distinct body regions: head & body
  • Workers are light-colored and soft-bodied
  • Straight antennas
  • Wings are very similar, 2 pairs of wings, equal in length

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants typically swarm from February through March. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood. They excavate already damaged wood for nesting. When excavating the wood, they create galleries that are smooth and very clean; they never use soil or mud. Carpenter ants like to feed specifically on aphid waste, which is commonly called honeydew; the drippings or honeydew you see on your car are aphid drippings that the carpenter ants feed off of. They also feed on meats, pet food, other insects, syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets.


Termites usually swarm a couple of weeks after carpenter ants do; normally they swarm mid-March through mid-May, but primarily in April. Subterranean termites are the most common in Texas; they like to construct shelter tubes from soil, called mud tubes. Termites consume wood (cellulose) and anything made from wood. 

If you think you may have an ant or termite infestation, give Western Exterminating a call today at 817-834-3121 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained technicians.