What's The Difference Between Pavement Ants And Termites?
Updated: Apr 5
Termites and ants can cause extensive damage to your home, but the species of destructive insect should always be considered separately when it comes to pest prevention and treatment. Not only is this the best way to avoid extensive damage to homes and commercial spaces, correctly identifying which is which can help you get the correct treatment to avoid any more of them in your area. Early prevention is key to taking care of termites and ants alike - which is why it's important to know which one you're dealing with at the first sign of an infestation.
So what's the difference between termites and pavement ants? You're more likely to find termites in your home, and they're more likely to attack wood. Pavement ants usually keep to themselves and only forage for food. Aside from being different species, the behavior of these two insects sets them apart. Understanding these differences in their behavior is the key to making sure that you know how to properly deal with them.
What Are Termites?
Termites are small and winged insects that attack wood, which can cause extensive property damage. Like ants, they can swarm your property in great numbers and can be difficult to remove once a big enough colony has been established.
Termites are similar in size to ants, but they're slightly thicker around the waist and are a light brown color. They can also be translucent based on their caste and relative age in the lifespan. Winged termites have consistent wing sizes, and they shed them fairly easily, especially during mating season.
Preferred Food Source
Termites will seek access to wood, as it's their primary food source. By chewing through the cellulose fibers in wood, they're able to transform it into a food source that most other insect species can't eat - which makes them spread through buildings quickly.
Wood termites can easily chew through most types of wood, but they prefer damaged wood that's been exposed to moisture. Termites will usually prefer tree branches, tree trunks, or other wood debris for their food, but they're not above invading homes if the conditions are right for it.
Termites multiply rapidly, chewing through wood and similar materials. They'll burrow through wood furnishing to make an entrance into walls, and can pass unnoticed for months until they've done enough damage to be noticed. At this point, getting rid of them usually means removing all infested wood and baiting the colony to kill the termite queen.
What Are Pavement Ants?
Small, unobtrusive, but almost everywhere, pavement ants are some of the most common ant species that you'll encounter. They usually make their homes outdoors, where access to food can be more plentiful and they have plenty of room to forage.
Pavement ants are tiny, usually measuring between 1/16 to 1/8 inches in size. They can have dark brown to black coloration, though it's not uncommon to find ones in shades of yellow and red as well. Their limbs are lighter in color than the rest of their body, and you can usually find them outdoors.
Preferred Food Source
Pavement ants are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including dead insects. But if food is plentiful, they'll usually gravitate towards sweet foods and protein-rich foods, which is usually what makes them come into contact with humans.
Pavement ants can forage up to 30 yards from their colonies to find food, which is why you'll often find them in urban cities. As omnivores, they can easily adapt to the food sources in the area, though they'll go for sources like garbage or pet food when it's readily available.
Pavement ants are more of a nuisance pest than anything - their bites don't really hurt and they usually stay in their colonies underneath cracks in the pavement. However, if an infestation gets large enough their foraging trails can bring them closer to humans; which is why repellents can work well against keeping them out.
Remove Ant And Termite Infestations With Midway Pest Management
Knowing the differences between termites and ants is an excellent way to get started on a plan to get rid of them both. Strictly speaking, neither species is a dangerous pest directly to humans - but left unattended, their foraging for food and damage to wood can cost thousands to repair. Immediately identifying which insect type you're dealing with is the key to avoiding widespread damage to wood structures, or possible contamination of your food.
If your ant or termite infestation has gotten out of hand, it's time to call in a professional pest control company before either insect can cause significant structural damage. At Midway Pest Management, we use effective pest control methods to get rid of these destructive pests - and make sure that your home remains free from them in the future. For more information about us and the services we provide, schedule a consultation with us today.