Both carpenter ants and termites can wreak havoc on your home, causing massive damage as they burrow their way into your home's foundation. Knowing the difference between a carpenter ant and a termite infestation is key to creating the right plan to get rid of them for good. Here are ways you can tell if it is termites or carpenter ants taking over your home. Once you determine which type of pest is invading your property, you can call an ant control or termite control specialist to get rid of them for you.


Carpenter ants are known to bite when their nests are disturbed or if they feel threatened. Their bite can be very painful due to the acid they inject when they puncture the skin and their powerful jaws. If members of your household are experiencing painful bites or red welts, then you may have a carpenter ant issue rather than a termite problem. Bites can occur anywhere on the body, and are most likely to be contained in areas where the carpenter ants nest or forage for food, such as your pantry or in your basement. 

Damage type

Carpenter ants tend to leave signs of entry in the form of wood shavings around edges of cupboards or in crevices in your basement. Termites, on the other hand, tend to burrow very deep in wood in dark places, so their signs may not be as noticeable to the naked eye. You will notice termite damage in less obvious ways, including:

  • chipped or warped paint on your walls
  • hollow-sounding wood from burrowing
  • brown spots on wood surfaces from termite droppings

Other evidence

Termites will often leave behind telltale evidence of their entry in your home, such as discarded wings from reproducing insects, or even flying swarms of termites as they leave their current nest to build new ones. Some species of termites will build mud homes within your walls, leaving tubes of mud exposed on the outer edges of your wood surfaces as entry points. Carpenter ants are most active at night, so you may see them scurrying around under sinks or in other crevices where you notice wood shavings are present.

The best way to determine if you have a termite or carpenter ant invasion is to contact a pest control specialist to investigate your home for you. Once they have determined what your problem is, your pest control specialist can take measures to eradicate the pesky critters from your home for good.