A frequent problem for homeowners throughout Toronto is the similarities that exist between carpenter ants and termites. Both of these insect types destroy wood, but only termites both colonize wood and eat it at the same time. Carpenter ants have no interest in eating wood. A clear indicator to differentiate between the two is the appearance of the insects: carpenter ants are black with a slimmer build in comparison to termites who may appear yellow, brown, or white with a much thicker abdomen and thorax.
There are also numerous differences in their behavior patterns. There is also the sugar ants which is smaller in size which may be misidentified as well. They are specifically on the hunt for sweet foods and may damage the integrity of your house with creating carpenter ant frass.
Termites are a species of insect that eats the cellulose material found inside of wood. They can serve beneficial purposes to the environment, but this is not the case once they make their way inside of homes, where a colony can destroy the wood foundation of a home in a few years’ time. Termites share many traits with carpenter ants, such as an affinity for burrowing through the wood, both indoors and out, as well as the production of frass, which is the wood structure they are burrowing through reduced to a small mulch.
Termite frass will also include termite droppings since termites will also rat the wood in addition to expelling the interior wood to create an accessible tunnel. Carpenter ant frass will not include pellet-shaped droppings mixed in with it, as they do not eat the wood they are burrowing through. Both species also create exit holes in the wood structures they have infested. These exit holes are for removing frass and waste, as well as holes to allow workers or alates to escape the colony. Carpenter ants do not usually create circular holes, so this is one possible way to differentiate between the two.
Carpenter ants will also branch out to other types of structures to colonize, such as insulation, whereas termites will typically only remain inside of wood. Termites do not forage for food since they are living inside of their food source. You will likely see carpenter ants much more than termites due to the ants’ need to venture out to find food and moisture reserves for the wider colony. Termites will also create mud tunnels along walls, floors, and ceilings, whereas carpenter ants will typically not include mud tunnels to travel.
Since it can be difficult to differentiate between the two species, a consultation with a pest control specialist is likely the best course of action to take. It is not easy to know which of the two insects are destroying the wood inside of your home or yard but a professional has tools and knowledge to assess any damaged wooden structure to immediately tell which of the two insects is the culprit. Both types of insects can cause irreversible damage to wood, therefore, it is necessary to find out which insect you are dealing with and having a professional ant exterminator Toronto begin the proper procedure to eradicate whichever insect is causing the damage.