Ants vs Termites

ants vs termites twin cities building and pest inspections

I think I’ve got termites! Or are they just ants? Help!

You may be confused as to whether the little creatures you’ve stumbled across in your house or yard are ants or termites. The two are actually quite different, here’s a couple of ways to tell them apart:

AntennaeSimple string of bead-like segmentsElbowed
EyesNo eyesCompound eyes present
Waist (‘Pedicel’- found between thorax & abdomen)AbsentPresent
AbdomenBlunt at endPointed at end
Wings (‘Flying ants’ or ‘Winged termites’4 wings, all equal size, double the length of the body4 wings – 2nd pair smaller
diagram comparing ants with termites

Both termites and ants operate within different castes (classes) and each have their own duties within the colony. The differences are:

SoldierHave an enlarged head with big jaws to help protect the colonyBoth male and female, but sexually underdevelopedJaws are so big they can’t feed themselves and rely on the workers to do thisFirst line of defense against attack, often give their life protecting the colonyPresent in ant species which are polymorphicMuch larger than worker ants and have strong jawsAll femaleProtect the colony but also use their large jaws to help cut and carry objects
WorkerBoth male and femaleCarry out a range of duties – They are essentially builders, miners and midwives!Responsible for the damage inflicted onto a propertyContain the greatest number of individuals within a colonyOnly femaleLook after the queen, care for the young, forage for foodHelp expand and maintain the nestQuite small compared to the other castes
Winged Termite / Flying AntReferred to as alateLeave the nest in the spring and summer months to mate and start a new colonyOnce they mate, their wings drop off as they land and find a new nestFlying AntsReferred to as AlateAre only femaleTheir two sets of wings are different sizes from one anotherFly from the nest in the summer to start a new colony. Once they have landed and start to build a nest, they clip their wings and use them as a source of protein for their new familyWinged DroneThe only male in an ant colonyTheir only job is to reproduceDuring summer they fly off with the females to reproduce and start a new colonyOnce they have mated, they die

If you suspect you have an ant or termite problem and are located in Townsville or surrounding suburbs, give us a call for a thorough pest and termite inspection. We’d love to help you identify what the species are and help you treat accordingly.

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