I have these insects in a very old wooden floor. I would like to know whether they are possibly termites, and if not, what they are.


They are about 4 mm in length (and I've had difficulty taking a picture with a standard camera, I may be able to get a better one in a couple of days). This one is dead and may have been crushed a little. Another sign of their presence is little heaps of wood dust appearing with a periodicity of 24-48 hrs, which are about 1 cm in diameter.

Following the indications of @usr137, I think it's rather an ant, indeed it has a slender mid-portion of the body, corresponding to detail (4) in this termite/ant comparative:

enter image description here

But they are much smaller than the ranges I find for carpenter ants (6—19 mm).

  • $\begingroup$ sounds like termites to me - it would be best to get an exterminator to come and take a look. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 15 '16 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm asking because pictures of wood-infesting termites I've found around the internet don't look like this, but there seems to be a large variety. We have definitely planned to have someone come and tell us what to do. $\endgroup$ – Joce May 15 '16 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ That picture looks more like an ant. Carpenter ant maybe? $\endgroup$ – user137 May 15 '16 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @user137: the abdomen is very long and thin, not really like the ants I'm used to around here (S-E France). And I don't know that ants will dig hard dry wood at that rate? $\endgroup$ – Joce May 15 '16 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @user137: actually, reading about carpenter ants you may very well be right! The abnomen I see is longer than what is documented, and they are smaller too, though. I'll investigate this further, thanks. $\endgroup$ – Joce May 15 '16 at 17:22

To close this, we're now reasonnably sure that they were carpenter ants or a close relative. One more clue is that they infested the wood close to a window receiving sunshine and were much more active when it was warm there. Thanks to @user137.

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