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Wood Destroying Insects: Termites vs Carpenter Ants

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Wood Destroying Insects: Termites vs Carpenter Ants

More than 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are made with wood framing. Of those that use steel or another structural material, there are likely still wooden elements like floors, baseboards, or fixtures. This means that almost every home in NYC can provide a habitat for termites or carpenter ants.

Both termites and carpenter ants cause damage to properties by creating tunnels inside the wood in your home. Left alone, these pests can weaken a structure until the necessary repairs can cost thousands of dollars or more. When you know the signs of carpenter ants and termites, it is easier to detect damage early and make an effective pest control plan.

Signs of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants chew through wood to create galleries and connecting tunnels where the entire colony lives. They do not actually consume the wood, but instead rely on nearby food and water sources. Damage and signs from carpenter ants looks like:

  • Smooth Tunnels – Carpenter ant galleries and tunnels will have a smooth surface and finished look.
  • Sawdust – Since ants do not eat the wood, they push the shavings out through their tunnels. It will usually pile on the ground beneath and resemble sawdust.
  • Slower Damage – Carpenter ants can take years to achieve substantial damage, but early intervention is still a necessity to avoid additional repairs.

Carpenter ants prefer rotting or water damaged wood for their colonies, meaning that you will be likely to experience an infestation if part of your property has already incurred damage.

Signs of Termites
Termites receive their nutrients from the cellulose in wood. They live in the soil around their food source and the workers in the colony tunnel into the wood to collect food. Termites will eat any type of wood and other materials containing cellulose. Their damage looks like:

  • Rough Tunnels – The tunnels termites chew are ragged in appearance and are often saturated with mud.
  • Mud Tubes – Termites build tunnels out of mud to connect their nest to the food source. You will see these tunnels on the soil, sidewalks, and foundation.
  • Rapid Damage – Termite damage occurs faster than ant damage with a termite colony reaching maturity at over 100,000 insects in 5 to 10 years.

Both carpenter ants and termites require moist environments, so quickly fixing leaks and ensuring property drainage around your home are key steps to preventing termites. Regular inspections for signs of damage from either wood destroying pest are also important. If you have noticed signs of termites or carpenter ants in New York City, call 24 Hour Pest Control NYC for fast removal to prevent further damage.

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