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family outside their home

Have questions about termites vs. carpenter ants? We get it - these bugs seem to have a lot in common and often leave people confused. You know they are both wood destroyers, but which insect is worse? Do they both live inside your home? Treatments for a termite problem will not solve a carpenter ant problem and vice versa, so it is vital to know which bug is bugging you!

What do they look like?

Carpenter ants look like big black ants and are commonly black to reddish black in color. They have the typical two antennae that are elbow shaped sticking out of their heads. On the other hand, termites look like whitish colored ants; they are usually cream colored and have two straight, beaded antennae. If you have a magnifying glass and dared to get these bugs under the lens, it would be quite obvious that they are very different species!

What kinds of damages do they do?

Carpenter ants burrow into the wood of your home to create their nests. They dig out little galleries all throughout the wood, but don’t actually eat the wood. Carpenter ants push out the sawdust created by their construction work through openings or cracks in the wood, which consequently creates little piles nearby. Termites would think that carpenter ants are very wasteful; all that tasty wood they excavate would make a yummy meal for hungry termites! Termites destroy wood to eat it, rather than live inside it. Termites live in colonies away from your home and only travel to your home for a meal. Since termites eat practically nonstop, they can always be found inside an infested structure.

Where do they live?

So you’ve got carpenter ants living inside the wood, but not eating the wood. What do they eat? Anything they can find inside your home, of course! Along with a free place to live, carpenter ants will be looking for a free meal in your pantry or other places in your home where food can be found. Termites do not live in your home, they only come to steal their food. They hollow out wood furniture, cabinetry and structural beams, but at least they have the decency to live outside your home in a satellite colony!


With spring only a few days away, it would be wise to remember that with spring comes the resurgence of pests! Both carpenter ants and termites may make a comeback in your neighborhood this spring, so you should be on the lookout. Better yet, you could let a local Pittsburgh pest control company be on the lookout for you with year round pest control services. Our Greater Pittsburgh exterminators know what pests spring can bring and they are ready to help you! Contact Witt for help with carpenter ant control, termite control and any other pest control that you may need this spring and throughout the year here in Pennsylvania.

For more information check out this blog post featuring a infographic about these pests!

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