How to Tell if You Have Ants or Termites

We’ve arrived at spring – at least that’s what the calendar says.  And the warmer temps can’t be far behind.  When warm weather arrives, it naturally brings insects with it. Ants awaken from their hibernation and work their way into homes in search of food. However, winged ants and termites look a lot alike. Both species are black, have six legs and are roughly the same size.

Although ants are annoying, they’re not as destructive to your home as termites are.  How can you tell the difference between the two? Here are some easy ways to determine what you have.

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Eastern Subterranean Termite

Body :  Termites’ bodies don’t change their shape from head to tail, but ants are composed of three distinct sections. They have thin necks and waists where the various sections meet.Legs:   Although the number of legs is the same, the length is not. A termite’s legs are shorter than an ant’s.

Antennae:   If the antennae are bent, you have an ant. If they’re straight, you have a termite.

Termites are notoriously hard to get rid of on your own, and they can wreak havoc on a structure’s wood work. If you think that’s what your infestation is, call an exterminator right away. Getting the problem taken care of as soon as possible will spare you the cost and stress of repairing or replacing damaged landscaping or structural support.

Ants are somewhat easier to take care of. Stores sell bated traps which will allow drones to bring bits of poison back to the nest to eliminate the problem. Although it takes a little longer than spraying pesticide, this method is usually more successful in the long term.  Amongst the plethora of more natural methods out there, the following two show the greatest amount of success:

– Keep food stored, wipe up messes and don’t let crumbs stick around.

– Use salt or chalk wherever ants could enter to deter them from coming in

If these methods don’t do the trick, call a pest control service. Those ants may actually be termites.  To find out more specific information about local termite species or to find a professional termite control service, visit this site on Destructive Termites in Minnesota.