Are Termites Ants? What Has Invaded Your Home?

One of the major concerns we hear about from homeowners in the Sacramento area is that they are not sure whether they have a carpenter ant problem or a termite problem. If you have been having a similar quandary, don’t worry. These two pests are actually relatively similar, meaning it is completely normal to not be able to identify which one is causing you issues. After all, both termites and carpenter ants are known to cause severe damage to wood in your home. Additionally, the both will swarm in the spring when it is time for them to mate.

On the other hand, there are also significant differences between the two pests. In order to be able to identify which one is in your home, you’re going to need to know more about the anatomy of both as well as their behavioral habits. Continue reading below to learn more.

Shape Of The Body

One of the distinguishing differences between these two pests are the shapes of their bodies. While carpenter ants, like regular ants, have fairly narrow waists, the waist of the termite is actually quite broad.


One of the most surefire ways to identify whether you have ants or termites in your home is to look at the coloring of the pest. Worker ants will be a reddish dark color while termites are transparent and light-colored.


If you are able to get close enough to look at the antennae on a termite, you would notice that they look like little balls or beads. Alternatively, ants have antennae that are clearly segmented and that also look like little bent elbows.

Termite Protection


While it might seem confusing to you that carpenter ants would even have wings, they absolutely do. They, like termites, do only have wings, however, when they are swarming. If you do happen to see them when this is happening, the wings do have different characteristics though. Termites have very uniform wings with all four looking nearly identical. Ants, on the other hand, have a large set of wings at their front and a smaller set of wings behind those.


Everyone knows that termites prefer to make a meal of the wood in homes. This is because they need that cellulose that is stored in the wood in order to survive. Carpenter ants do not eat wood at all. Instead, they make their homes in the wood, burrowing as deeply into it as they can. The diet of these ants consists of proteins and sugars.


The actual habitat of the termite will depend almost entirely on the species of a particular termite. With that said, it would be very rare for you to spot a termite unless you were to see it while it was swarming with many other termites. You may be able to spot that you have a termite problem, however, if you notice that there is wood damage, mud tubes or discarded wings around your home. Carpenter ants are a bit more daring in that they will have no problem venturing out into the open when they are looking for food.


Both of these pests are very attracted to any moisture that may be in your home. Additionally, they are clearly attracted to wood and any easily accessible points of entry to your home. However, carpenter ants, unlike termites, are extremely attracted to the food sources in your home. This could be anything from a sticky spot on your counter to the crumbs on your kitchen floor to your pet’s food.

Behavioral Differences

Wing Durability

The wings of the termite are not as durable as the wings of an ant. This is why you will often see discarded wings near the opening of a termite nesting site.


When it comes to the tunnels and galleries of carpenter ants, you can expect to see that they are very smooth and completely finished. By comparison, however, termite galleries are rough and jagged because they are completely filled with soil and mud.

Mud Tubes

If you are seeing mud tubes in your home this is a definite sign that you have a termite problem and not a carpenter ant infestation. Termites build these tubes so that they can act as passageways between soil and wood that keep them safe as they travel.

Contact Earthwise Pest Management Today

If you are still unsure whether you have termites or carpenter ants in your home, Earthwise Pest Management can absolutely help. Additionally, if you are in need of extermination of either of these pests, we can be at your home in no time at all. We are passionate about helping local families and business owners make their space pest-free and therefore, a comfortable space. Contact us today to learn more about our termite extermination and ant removal services in Sacramento!

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