Termites vs Ants : Best Way to Tell The Difference

When buying a home, we want to make a wise decision by choosing the perfect building for us to live in. Moreover, we want to know it’s in good condition and protect it from damage.  One of the potential concerns can be termites which if left unnoticed can cause unwanted damage to your home.

A pre purchase building and pest inspection can help to identify these issues prior to purchasing the home.

When looking at pests, termites vs ants are two pests that are often mistaken for each other. People sometimes cannot see the difference between the two and often end up considering both as one thing, which is not the case.  

In today’s article, let’s talk about the difference between termites and ants, and more importantly how a pre purchase inspection can help you can spot them before moving to your new home.  

Pre-Purchase Pest Inspections 

Finding the house of your dreams is an important event. When you finally spot a property which is exactly what you have been looking for it surely sends electric spark through your nerves.  

However despite this rush of excitement it is important to do due diligence in regards to the property.  One of the important things about buying properties is to make sure the house is free of pests to avoid any future issues with the maintenance of the house.  Safeguards Inspections can help you achieve that. Professional inspectors will help you get a complete idea about the property.  

Some of the most common pests that are found in homes are ants and termites. The damage that termites can cause to your house can be significant, while ants tend to be more of an annoyance. Below we present the comparison of Termites vs Ants .

Termites vs Ants

1. Body Shape 

If you look closely, you’ll be able to spot that the body of these two pests is not really similar-looking and there are significant differences that often go unnoticed.  

For instance, for termites, you’ll be able to see a regular rectangular body, whereas the ants’ bodies are more defined as their body narrows down at one point in between making it look like the “waist” of the ant. So yeah, one way that you can remember to differentiate termites from ants is – Ants have “waists’ ‘ whereas termites do not. 

Termites vs Ants
Image of a Termite
Image of an Ant
Image of an Ant

2. Colour 

Another way of quickly distinguishing termites from ants is by taking a look at their color. It’s easily noticeable that termites are pale in color whereas the color of the ants varies from black, and brown to red. 

3. Antenna 

If you take a look at the antennas of both these pests, you’d be able to notice a sharp difference. In ants, the antennas are bent. Whereas, if you take a look at the antennas of the termites, you’ll see they are absolutely straight unlike the ants and have a beaded structure. 

4. Lifecycle 

You’d be shocked to know how these two similar-looking pests have totally opposite lifecycles. The average lifespan of termites is much greater than that of ants. Ants’ life cycle contains four stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Whereas if we talk about termites, there are five stages involved in their lifecycle, namely – egg, larva, nymph, molt, and adult. Needless to say, it is established that termites can live quite longer than ants. As a matter of fact, termites can live for as long as 30 years! 

Damage they cause: Termites vs Ants

Let’s finally take a look at the extent of damage that these pests can cause to the various furnishings and details of your house. If its termites, you need to take action quite quickly because the pace with which termites can cause damage to your house is so high that they just need a matter of months to make significant damage to a building.

Not easy to detect them, which is why termites often end up ruining and damaging a lot, making us grasp for straws even before we can detect the problem and do something about it.  

Ants, on the other hand, are easier to detect. Moreover, they also don’t cause damage as quickly as the termites so you can sit back and think about what to do about the ants without being in a hurry.  

The preventive measures for ants are easier than that for termites. You just need to make sure there is no moisture present around your house as it is moisture that promotes the growth of ants.  

What is their purpose? 

Let’s not forget the number one reason why we are trying to distinguish these pests from each other. It is so that we can know what to do about them to prevent damage to our home.  

Let’s finally find the answer to the constant question in your head, that is, why? What is their purpose? What is their aim? Why do ants and termites hijack our houses? Well, even the reasons are different.  

Ants do not actually eat wood. Ants just need spaces to build their nests and store their food and that is exactly what they do at the property that belongs to you. They find a home in your home.  

But the termites eat the wood. Termites passionately eat wood from within the house structural elements and finishings for the sole reason of eating. They literally thrive on it.  This is why termites cause much more damage than ants.

What next?

If pests are identified in an inspection, a licensed pest treatment company can recommend a treatment plan to remove the pest. For ants this can be simply a pest spray, however termites can require more extensive management.

The first step is to identify that there is an issue. So before purchasing a home, it is important to have a Pre Purchase Building and Pest Inspection to give the best chance of identifying if there is an issue.