You’re in your kitchen, minding your own business, and out of the corner of your eye, you see a black insect scurrying under the counter. Shortly after, you see another one. As it turns out, there is a colony of insects living in your home. But what exactly are you dealing with here? Is it ants? Is it termites? Let’s find out how to tell the difference between the two.
Identifying the real threat
You will never see termite workers or soldiers out in the open, because they will die without the moisture provided by their nest. Only alates or winged reproductive termites will ever leave the safety of their colony. So whenever you see an ant-like creature crawling around your home, you are definitely dealing with an ant infestation.
However, that does not mean that the wood in your home is safe. There is an ant species, known as carpenter ants, which are just as dangerous as termites to the structural integrity of your home. Carpenter termites will burrow into wood and build their colonies inside of it, occasionally going outside to forage for food.
Carpenter ants vs. termites
While you will never see termites out in the open, you should still keep an eye out for an infestation. You might be tempted to look for any damage to the wooden structures of your home, but you will not find any clues of an infestation until it is too late. Wood damage only becomes visible once the termites or carpenter ants have pretty much hollowed the wood out.
Instead, you want to keep an eye out for the two most obvious signs of a termite infestation. Subterranean termites will build mud tubes that extend out of the ground to the wood of the home. This helps them stay hydrated when travelling outside of the colony. Drywood termites build their colonies inside the wood itself, but they need evacuation holes, through which they push out debris. Look for these holes in the wood and the resulting debris beneath. Both species will send out alates occasionally to set up new colonies. Carpenter ants can be seen outside of the colony, and they are black and noticeably larger than other ants.
If you keep an eye out for these signs, you might be able to protect your home from wood damage caused by pests. However, to be perfectly safe, you will need to have a professional regularly inspect your home. Contact us today if you want to set up a wood-boring insect inspection, or if you have any issues with the pests mentioned above.