What is the difference between Ants and Termites?
Many customers frequently ask this question.
Ants and termites are both found in timber. Ants will only infest timber which is already damaged and decayed, they do not initiate damage. Termites cause serious damage to sound timber. These two groups of insects can be easily distinguished from one another.
Differences between Ants and Termites
Here’s how to distinguish between an Ant or Termite:
- Ants: Elbowed.
- Termites: Simple string of bead-like segments.
- Ants: Compound eyes present.
- Termites: No eyes.
Waist (called a pedicel, found between thorax and abdomen)
- Ants: Present.
- Termites: Absent.
- Ants: Pointed at end.
- Termites: Blunt at end.
Both ants and termites can be divided up into several ‘castes’, which depend upon their roles in the colony.
- Ants: Sexually undeveloped females.
- Termites: Sexually undeveloped males and females.
- Ants: Are workers and may have dual role.
- Termites: Sexually undeveloped males and females. There are two possible body forms: mandibulate (jawed) and nasute (long-nosed), depending on species.
- Both ants and termites can have a winged stage in their reproductive cycle.
- Ants: Fore/hind wings unequal, strongly veined
- Termites: Fore/hind wings equal, no obvious veins
- Ants: Complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult
- Termites: Incomplete metamorphosis: egg, nymph, adult (no pupal stage)
- Ants: ants are scavengers, with different species foraging for different foods. Some ants live within damp/decaying wood, but do not actually eat the wood.
- Termites: termites are plant tissue specialists, feeding on wood and grasses, and some species can cause extensive damage to buildings and trees through their feeding and nesting habits.
- Ants: Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae
- Termites: Order Blattodea, several families ( note , order was previously Isoptera)
If you believe you have an Ant or Termite problem or you require further information, please contact your local Amalgamated Pest Control branch.