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Ants vs. Termites

One of the most common questions we hear at Advanced Pest Control is how to determine the difference between an ant infestation and an active terminate colony attacking for home.  For New Hampshire residents in the northern part of our state, there is no worry about termites. From central New Hampshire through the southern part of the state, termites can be found in abundance.

As a simple rule of thumb, if the body of the insect looks just like an ant with wings, it's a flying ant, not a termite. Here is a comparison:

  • Ant reproductives are defined by having three distinct body segments (head, thorax, abdomen), elbowed antennae and clear, pointed wings that are only slightly longer than the insect's body.  

  • Termite reproductives have two distinct body segments (head & thorax), straight antennae and  translucent, paddle shaped wings that are twice as long as the body of the insect.

Termites live in underground colonies and feed on wood products. You may never see them, even if they're feeding on the lumber that's holding your house together. Fortunately they work slowly, giving you several years to discover their presence before they cause substantial structural damage to your house. You might see a swarm of termites during the spring due to temperatures and moisture conditions. A telltale sign is discarded wings on the floor or windowsills after a warm rain in early spring. But, termites can be active at other times during the year, such as during the winter in heated basements.

One way to detect their presence is by the characteristic pattern of destruction: they eat the soft part of the wood and leave the annual rings intact. Another sign of their presence is mud tubes constructed along obstructions they cannot chew through. However, such signs are not often readily visible.

It is virtually impossible for you to get rid of termites yourself. Call us if you suspect termites are at work in or near your house. 

Termite Treatments

Barrier Treatments- When subterranean termites are found, we can inject a termite treatment into the soil surrounding your house to create a continuous barrier that termites won’t cross. 

Bait Options- At Advanced Pest Control, we offer an alternative to traditional barriers with termite baiting. As every home is different, we will take the time to assess your specific infestation and recommend the most effective treatment options. Baits, though effective in some infestations, are not best in all cases. If a bait solution looks best for you, we will install bait stations that contain untreated wood around an infested home. If you have a crawlspace, we may install one or two stations in this area as well. The bait stations are positioned at fixed intervals. Termites find the stations during foraging. Bait stations are inspected periodically to see if termites are feeding on the untreated wood bait. Once the termites find the wood bait, poison bait is added to the stations. All members in the colony exchange the poison until the queen gets her share of the poisin and the colony dies. 

Carpenter Ants are frequently confused with termites because they, too, destroy wood. Unlike termites, however, they do not eat the wood, preferring instead to tunnel channels through it in order to enlarge their living space. Although a carpenter ant has wings, its front pair is much longer than the back pair; its termite cousin has two pairs of equal length. Another distinguishing feature of the carpenter ant's body is a pinched-in waist like that of a wasp.

If you find little piles of sawdust near the baseboards of your house, suspect that carpenter ants are at work. Since their nests are extremely difficult to find, we can help to determine the extent of damage and eliminate the colonies.

Carpenter ants like damp locations: underground, in dead stumps, and in firewood. They can be found inside wood structures where there are water leaks: around windows, chimneys, bathtubs, sinks, and drains. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat and digest wood. Ants tunnel through and live in wood.  While pressure treated wood can kill termites, it will not kill ants

Treatment for carpenter ants involves the application of materials into areas conducive to their activity and into known nests.

 

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