Ants and termites share many similarities. They both build complex colonies, forage for food, have a caste system with a queen at the top, and spread using swarmers. However, termites are actually more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two species.
Most ant species are completely harmless. The biggest issue with them is that they enter the home to forage for food. However, as soon as the food sources go away, so do the ants. There are few species though that can be more serious. One of them is the carpenter, and this species is the closest to termites out of all of them. These ants will build their colonies inside wood, causing damage to the home. Other ant species that can cause problems are the fire ants, which are aggressive and have a very painful sting, the pharaoh ants, which can spread diseases, and the odorous house ants, which emit a rotten smell when they are crushed.
All the termites that will enter the home are pest species, with the main three of these being the subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. Unlike ants, the termites have a diet that consists entirely of cellulose, which is a material found in plants, particularly in wood. Also, all these termite species cause damage to the home that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in repair and control costs. The good news is that termites pose no health threats to the inhabitants of the home, unless the damage they cause is so extensive that it compromises the structural integrity of the building, but this is extremely rare.
Termites and ants are controlled with different methods for the most part. Baits work against both species, but the baits targeting termites have to be part of a system that is installed in the ground. Direct-application insecticides can also be used against some ant and termite colonies, but subterranean termites will be unaffected by this control method. Outside of these two methods, you have chemical barriers and fumigation for termites, and broadcast-insecticide treatments for ants.
If you have a termite or an ant infestation, or if you have a question about these two pests, contact us today and one of our team members will assist you.