Are white ants the same as termites?


Yes.  "White ant" is a wrong name for termites.  Termites are not white (cream is as pale as they ever get) and they are very different to ants.  Ants belong with bees and wasps whereas termites are really social cockroaches (did you just shudder?).  Please don't say "white ant" unless you were born before 1950, have really bad eyesight or have to so as not to cause offence.

The name is used mostly in countries that were English colonies.  Termite pests weren't a problem in Britain and so the colonists had no knowledge of them.  In that sense, it's not such a bad name as they are ant-sized and about as white as a well-used white shirt was in those days. . . but 200+ years after colonisation it is time to put it to rest.  Here's a neat Google Graph that shows the gradual decline.