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Have you found yourself asking the question, "What on Earth are those winged insects crawling all over my windows?" Well, you're not alone. Two of the most misunderstood pests are ants and termites. Both of which produce flying alates that are birthed for one purpose and one purpose only...to spread. 

Termites and ants have many common traits. They're both insects, which means they have two antennae, six legs, and three body parts. They both create workers that go out and bring nourishment back to their nest. And they both produce fliers, also called swarmers, when a nest nears its maximum population. But the common trait that every property owner should be aware of is that swarmers are not usually an indication of an impending infestation. They are most often a sign of a current, mature infestation.



close up image of a flying ant

Which Is Worse: Ants or Termites? 

When ant or termite swarmers appear, this is the question most folks want to know the answer to first, but it must be broken down into two parts. First, you must establish what type of ant you are referring to. While all termites are destructive to wood, not all ants are. There is only one type of ant you need to be concerned with in regard to property damage. That is the carpenter ant. 

Assuming you have found carpenter ants, this is what you need to know: 

  • On a national scale, termites are the clear winner. Termite damage is in the billions, while carpenter ant damage is in the hundreds of millions.

  • When looking at national statistics we must understand that there are many species of termite, and not all termites do the same level of damage. Subterranean termites are far more destructive than drywood termites. And, of all the subterranean termite species, the Formosan subterranean is, by far, the most destructive. While there are many species of carpenter ant, they are equally destructive. So, it matters what type of termite you're comparing to carpenter ants.

  • When determining the destructive capability of carpenter ants you also have to take into consideration the location of the carpenter ant nest (or nests). Carpenter ants do not eat wood, like termites. They chew on wood and push frass out kick out holes. If this frass (sawdust) lands in a hard-to-see area, or in an area that has dust and sawdust, an infestation can go undetected. This is often the case with homeowners who store their firewood inside. Wood storage areas conceal frass and make it more difficult to recognize a carpenter ant infestation. When a carpenter ant infestation is not addressed, damage can be comparable to termite damage on an individual basis.



close up of a termite on wood

What Is The Difference Between Treating For Ants or Treating For Termites? 

Termites live almost exclusively inside the wood they feed on. If you have a current infestation in your home, it is necessary to directly treat infested areas within your walls with an insecticide. At Arrow Pest Control, we trust Termidor, America's number one termite defense product. This product is applied directly to areas where termites are detected, and when they pass through it, they share the knockdown agent with other workers. Then, through Termidor's "Transfer Effect" the product is transported to the colony by "carriers" and the colony is destroyed. It is sort of like introducing a virus. 

Carpenter ants do not live entirely inside the wood they infest. They come out to feed. Often, they feed outside a home so they don't reveal the true size of their colony to a homeowner. An educated pest control technician analyzes the path the ants are taking and put a bait down for them to take home. When the ants find the bait, they carry it back to their nest, and the nest is destroyed. 

If you're seeing winged ants or termites on your walls, it is vital to have your home inspected by a certified and educated professional. Both of these insects are destructive, and arresting an infestation early can save you a lot of money and frustration. For more information, or to schedule a service call, reach out to us. We've been serving New Jersey with industry-leading pest control for over 40 years. We'll make sure those carpenter ants or termites are completely gone because, when wood-eating pests are gone, life is good.



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