Black ants love termites! They view the soft, fleshy bodies of termites as tasty treats packed with protein.
The short answer of whether termites are eaten by ants is yes. There are six species of ants that will actively hunt termites and eat them. One such species is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants get their name from their nest building, where they will excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside of the wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, they only tunnel and chew through wood to create nests.
The benefit to carpenter ants eating the termites is that they’re removing potential rivals for prime nesting sites. The downside of that is that the ants may destroy the termites but continue chewing on the wood in your home. Bad idea.
Carpenter ants are capable of doing similar damage as termites. The difference in their damage is that termites eat the wood and nest underground, whereas carpenter ants will tunnel away just to make their nests and then live inside the wood. The damage they cause can be pricey to repair. They’re able to hollow out a wooden structure to the point where it’s unstable, therefore causing a tremendous hazard in your home.
Should you rely on ants to control a termite issue? Of course not. Ants are smart and understand that wiping out a whole colony of termites also destroys their food source. So ants will only take out an amount that will feed their colony and leave the rest.
Ants find it very difficult to penetrate a termite nest due the strong hard outer shell. They can enter via vents within the nest that allow temperature regulation. The ants can also gain access when nests have been disturbed by humans or animals, or when the termites surface looking for food.
Termites have evolved many defenses to protect themselves from being preyed on by ants, including producing armed soldiers by growing large mandibles used to fight off attacks from ants and other predators. These termites will fight to the death, willingly sacrificing themselves for the colony. Termites also build their colonies by creating small tubes and tunnels. These tubes are often too small for ants.
While ants can seriously damage a termite colony, there is no guarantee that they will be able to completely eliminate the termites. Once ants are able to overcome these defenses, they will consume termites – but would never consume all the termites of a large colony like a subterranean termite colony.
In nature, ants and termites are often found living close to each other. Homeowners experiencing problems should seal foundation cracks and holes to keep either pest from coming inside. Make sure wood supports on decks or porches don’t contact soil, and check that there is no excess moisture in the house.
The best way to deal with these pests is by using a certified pest control company to combat any infestation issues.