The Difference between Ants and Termites

When it comes to insects, identification of type and species can be very difficult. Especially in summer when there are numerous insects out and about, many people become confused as to the presence of pests in and around their home.

One of the most common mistakes people make is confusing ants for termites. It is easy to mistake flying ants for flying termites (and vice versa) as these insects share a lot of visual similarities.

Below are 4 ways you can tell the difference between ants and termites.

Their bodies

Termites have two distinct segments, the head and the abdomen. They also have straight antennae and short legs. Their wide bodies are soft as they don’t have a hard exoskeleton like ants do.

Ants have three distinct body segments, which are more rounded. Their narrow bodies come in at the thorax and abdomen, giving them a distinct look. Their antenna are bent and they have longer legs than termites.


Winged termites, or alates, are a termite caste that establishes new colonies. In the warmer months they establish new colonies in trees, or where moisture and food is evident. These termites have two wings on each side of their body. These wings are of equal size, which is different to flying ants.

Flying ants have two pairs of wings on each side of their body. However, the wings are of different sizes. The second pair of wings is considerably viagra online smaller than their front pair.


Termites and white ants are one and the same. Some termite species appear semi-translucent, which is where ‘white ants’ originates from. Most termite soldiers have a dark amber head with a white or light body. However, most winged termites, or alates, are either light brown or black.

Damage to your home

The most important difference between ants and termites is the damage they cause to your house.

Termites feed on wood and grass, and have the ability to cause structural damage to the buildings and plants they live in. The most obvious sign of termite damage is wood being eaten away.

However, ants do not eat wood. Many people confuse carpenter ants with termites, as the carpenter ants feed on the moss or fungus coming from decaying wood. Carpenter ants use decaying wood to build their home, rather than a source of food like termites. If there are wood shavings left at the entrance to their nest this shows that the ants are not termites.

As you can see, there are distinguishable differences to help you determine the difference. However it’s always best to hire a trained eye to be sure! If you live on the Sunshine Coast and are concerned about the possible presence of termites, get in touch today. As part of a termite inspection on the Sunshine Coast, we provide a detailed report of any termite activity present, prevention advice, as well as treatment recommendations


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