The Differences Between Ants and Termites

March 27, 2019

There are a lot of visual similarities between flying ants and termites—so many, in fact, that people might see ants flying around their home and be nervous that they have a termite infestation on their property. Both ants and termites swarm, which means they’ll send out flying ants or termites to mate and find new homes, and they might even live very closely alongside each other. This can make matters confusing, but there are ways you can tell them apart.

Here is some information from an exterminator in Central Illinois about the key differences between ants and termites.


The place in which you find the bug will help you determine whether it is an ant or a termite. Ants are most likely going to be found in or near your kitchen, because they are highly attracted to any edible food they can find—especially sticky and sweet foods with lots of sugar. Termites, however, won’t be found nearly as easily. They’ll favor darker, more out-of-the-way spaces, such as the attic or rafters, and will primarily be feeding on suitably damp wood, rather than actual food.


One of the main visual differences between termites and ants is the antennae. On ants, the antennae will almost look like they’re folded or bowed at the end and topped with a small ball. Termites, however, have antennae that look like they’re made out of long strings of beads, and they will not be bent in any way.


The shape of a termite’s body is a bit different than the shape of an ant’s body. Termites have thicker bodies that look like they only have two sections (a thorax and head), while ants have bodies that look like they’re composed of three distinct sections (a head, thorax and abdomen). In addition, the “neck” and “waist” of the ant, where these sections come together, are much thinner than they are on a termite.

The differences in body size are also worth pointing out. Both ants and termites that fly will have two different sets of wings when they’re out to mate or looking for brand new colonies, but the back wings on the termite are generally fairly easy to see under the front ones, while you will not be able to see the ant’s back wings at all. This is because the termite’s wings are the same size for each pair, while the ants have shorter back wings than front wings.

These are just a few of the most common differences you’ll notice between ants and termites. It is important to be on the lookout for these bugs in your home, especially if you’ve noticed a few of them here and there around your property. Termites especially can do some significant damage over a long period of time, so you should call an exterminator in Central Illinois as soon as you’re sure you’ve noticed signs of a termite infestation on your property. Call Crist Termite and Pest Solutions, Inc. today for more information.

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