For anyone that’s seen the film Antz, you’ll know that ants and termites are at a constant battle with each other in the wild. However did you know that these two insects often get mistaken for one another?
To the untrained eye both insects look alike, but did you know that termites are actually more closely related to cockroaches than ants? Both insects interact differently in terms of their ability to cause a disturbance to man. Ants are usually seen as an annoyance for the most part (Fire ants are a different story) whilst termites are inherently known for their capacity to cause a large amount of damage to a property.
Unlike ants, termites live off a strict diet of cellulose. Cellulose is an organic compound found in wood, plants and paper. All species of termites live off cellulose whether they build their nest using it depends on the species. For example Subterranean termites aren’t too fond of sunlight. They tend to build their nests underground and use tunnels made from mud and their excrement to navigate an area for food.
Although very similar to ants in terms of shape and size, termites have some unique features which helps identify them.
Much like ants, termites operate within different castes (classes) each with their own duties within the colony.
There are three main termite classes each with their own unique characteristics:
Ants also have their own set of unique characteristics which makes them differ from termites.
Ants will often travel a wide range in the search for food. Some types of ant will lay down a scent which will attract other ants to a food source. Some species of Ants are known for having a particularly strong sweet tooth and are attracted to items such as fruit, sugar and honey.
An ants appearance differs from a termites in a handful of different ways
Ants also operate in different castes, although there are some similarities with termite castes, there are some differences which can be made between the two insects
When discussing the differences between termites and ants, it’s important to mention carpenter ants.
One of the main contributors to the confusion between the two types of insect, carpenter ants act similar to termites in terms of their damage to a property. However unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they feed on the fungal decay associated with rotting wood and the wood fragments are merely used to build their nests.
A key sign in identifying if you have carpenter ants or termites is wood shavings. As stated carpenter ants don’t consume wood like termites and instead discarded the excess wood through the entrances of their nests.
Call Rentokil today for advice and to schedule a termite inspection of your property.
Knowing the difference between an ant and a termite is extremely important with termite season poking its head around the corner.
Being able to identify the differences between termite damage and an ant infestation can help streamline the approach to managing a potential pest infestation for both you and your pest controller, helping to save you both time and money.
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