ants Archives - Pest

Compare Verified Exterminators In Your Area

Get FREE Quotes

Termites and ants cause billions of dollars in damage to United States homes, but there are many differences that set them apart. Even though both are considered pests, there are different approaches and methods to deal with them correctly and efficiently.

It’s not always easy to know which insect is causing the damage and eroding the value and safety of your property, but in order to fully manage the pests you first need to learn how to recognize them.

With this idea in mind, we have the perfect list that will help you distinguish termites from ants and then make the best decision about the next steps you need to take to eliminate them. Let’s go!

Termites vs. Ants

To the untrained and inexperienced eye termites and especially carpenter ants might look the same. Depending on the species some ants such as the mentioned carpenter ones are often mistaken for termites because they cause wood damage and have winged specimens while reproducing. 

Even though no pests should be taken lightly, let’s see what the main differences between termites and ants are that might help you choose the best elimination method.

Body Shape

Termites and ants might look similar but if you have the opportunity to capture one using traps you will notice a well-defined waist in ants and quite a rectangular body in termites. Termites are usually described as wider-body insects while ants of any kind have a segmented body and are pinched in the waist.


If you are fortunate enough to capture adult specimens of any pests before the considerable damage is done you can take a closer look at the small antennae on the head. Ants always have bent or elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae. This detail, even though it’s quite small, can help you determine what pests you are dealing with.


Most of the time if you see a lot of insects and wonder if you have ants or termites the answer will be ants. Why? Because the termites will often hide and cause damage in walls, wood, and construction beams without being seen. 

In addition, the termites are lighter, almost translucent in color while ants usually have reddish or black bodies and heads. With all of the other features mentioned on our list, it will be easier to distinguish termites from ants.


You might not know it, but some ants and termites have 4 wings. This feature can help you make a difference between pests, and reveal what you are dealing with. Termites have proportional and equal wings that fall off easily, which means that you have termites if you see a lot of discarded wings around your home.

On the other hand, ants have wings that are not the same size considering their back wings are shorter.


This feature might be less significant for the initial categorization of pests in your home, but it’s good to know that ants live a significantly shorter life than termites. While both create colonies and have the queen for reproduction the ants live a few months on average. On the other hand, the termite queen can live for a few decades and the rest of the termites for a few years, meaning one colony can cause considerable damage to property and stay there for decades.

Wood Damage

Some ants such as carpenter ants will damage the wood and they are most of the time compared or mistaken for termites. But even though both species damage the wood, they don’t do it in the same way or for the same reason.

Termites eat wood and will attack anything based on cellulose. They consume the wood and create elaborate but rough tunnels filled out with mud. So, if you notice mud tunnels and hollow wood you are dealing with termites.

Carpenter ants, on the other hand, build nests in the wood and don’t consume it. So, when carpenter ants dig out the smooth tunnels they leave small residue or piles of sawdust behind.

How to Get Rid of Termites and Ants?

Now that we know how to differentiate ants and termites, you might be wondering what is the best way to get rid of the infestation fast. One thing is for sure the best way to deal with such hazardous and persistent pests is to call the exterminators. The professional teams have the experience and the tools needed to deal with any kind of pests you might have in your home. So, if you do notice any signs of damage or see adult specimens of any insects make sure to contact them.

In the meantime, there are some ready-made solutions on the market that can help you manage and control pests. 

Here are a few recommendations for ants and termites:


While it’s not easy to compare, ants are known to be much more aggressive and persistent than termites. If it comes to resources and nest defense the ants are much more likely to wipe out entire termite colonies.

Both termites and carpenter ants are known to cause considerable damage in homes, but overall the termites are faster and will deteriorate the construction more efficiently. They are one of the most destructive insects and cause billions of dollars in damage each year.

Unlike termites that consume the wood carpenter ants eat other insects and high-fructose items. They are attracted to sweet things such as honey, sugar and syrup, and food leftovers, but they will eat smaller insects as well or drink the honeydew when needed.

Have you noticed a few ants in your home? This can be a cause for alarm because ants are super organized and will leave a trail for other ants to follow if there is food and shelter. This means your home can soon be infested with ants if you don’t deal with them right away.

But, with so many ant-killing options on the market, you might be wondering what’s the best solution.

If you have pets you need to take extra precautions when using any ant killers, because the harmful ingredients can be dangerous for mammals, including your cats and dogs. That’s why we are discovering the top 5 pet-safe ant killers that will help you eliminate pests and keep your furry friends safe.

Ant killers

What Are Pet Safe Ant Killers?

With so many ant repellents and ant-killing solutions on the market, it’s hard to decide which one is the most efficient but at the same time safe for your pets. Luckily there are many options with safe ingredients you can use in your home and garden, but it’s always a good idea to monitor the baits and traps, and prevent accidental ingestion by your pets.

Here are a couple of ingredients that are considered natural or safe for your pets:

If you see those ingredients on the list chances are the product is safer for your pets, although always follow the instructions and never let your pets eat the ant killers.

Some ingredients such as Hydramethylnon, Bifenthrin, and Thiamethoxam should be avoided because they can cause excess salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and skin irritation. Most of the time even those ingredients are safe in smaller quantities, so all you need to do is monitor or restrict your pet from the infested area.

Top 5 Pet Safe Ant Killers

Terro Ant Killer Bait Station

The Harris Diatomaceous Insect Killer

MDXconcepts Organic Pest Spray

Syngenta – Optigard Ant Bait Gel

EcoRaider Ant Killer

Terro Liquid Ant Baits are an excellent choice for killing household ants without harming your pets. This ant killer comes in ready-made, plastic bait stations that can be placed near ant trails or in ant-infested areas. The bait is easy to open and set up, and you don’t need to worry about the mess.

Terro liquid ant baits contain Borax as the main ingredient. It’s not the most natural and safest option, but it’s safe enough to have around your pets, just make sure they don’t ingest it in large quantities.

It doesn’t kill ants right away, but it slowly kills their digestive systems, giving them time to return to the bait a few more times. After trying the bait, ants take a dose of forage back to the nest, which contributes to bait spreading and circulating within the ant colony, killing even the insects you can’t see.

Diatomaceous Earth powder is one of the best and most natural solutions for ants, roaches, silverfish, and bed bugs. The Harris Diatomaceous Earth killer is especially effective and comes in a convenient puffer bottle for easy application.

The Diatomaceous Earth powder will dry out the exoskeleton of all insects that come in touch with it and destroy entire colonies in a matter of days. Keep in mind that you should re-apply the powder for the best effects, but rest easy because your pets are completely safe.


MDXconcepts Organic Pest Spray is a completely organic and safe solution based on natural ingredients such as essential peppermint oil. This spray will act as an ant repellant and disrupt the trail they leave behind for other ants to follow.

In addition, this spray can deal with smaller infestations and kill ants because it contains sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, best known as liquid soap. While it might not be the most effective solution on the list, it’s one of the safest that you can use even in your kitchen.

Optigard Ant Bait Gel is one of the most popular and effective solutions on the market that will help you deal with ants. The packaging resembles a syringe and you need to apply a couple of drops on the trail where you notice the ants.

The Optigard ant bait gel contains Thiamethoxam .010% and it will take some time and practice for the right application and full effect on the ants. But, it’s considered safe for dogs and cats, as long as they don’t ingest too much of the solution.

The EcoRaider Ant Killer is a natural ant repellent and killer that will disrupt their trails and kill most of the ants that are already in your home. While this spray will deal with ants it’s completely non-toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and other pets you might have.

It’s also good to know that this spray is going to kill ants naturally, but it’s strong enough to deal with fire ants also. It’s easy to apply but some people might be overwhelmed by the citrus smell, on the other hand, the scent will protect your home for a long time.

Call Ant Exterminators

The solutions we mentioned in this detailed article will help you deal with ants and keep your pets safe, but if the infestation is severe you should call the professionals. Ants are very persistent, cause property damage and even have painful bites, so you should deal with the infestation as soon as possible.

Once you choose one of the top picks we made for you make sure to follow up with all the baits and traps, and ensure the colonies are completely eradicated.