It’s not hard to confuse carpenter ants and termites due to their fondness for the wood in your house. However, the two insects couldn’t be more different. Termites actually eat the wood inside your home, while carpenter ants don’t. Instead, they live in the wood.
It is important to know some interesting facts about carpenter ants. Specifically, there are two species of carpenter ants. One has a black midsection with a reddish-brown head. And the other is called the big black carpenter ant because of its relatively uniform black and dark brown body.
If you have a problem with carpenter ants in your home, don’t hesitate to contact the carpenter ant control experts at A.N.T. Pest Control for a speedy resolution.
Carpenter Ants Appearance
- The carpenter ant is one of the biggest ant species in the country and ranges in length from ¼ to ¾ inches.
- While they’re not uniform in color, they tend to be dark colored or solid black.
Particularly, carpenter ants come in three size brackets, each with their own job classification. The biggest ants in the colony are the major workers. Mid-sized ants are intermediate carpenter ants. And the smallest ants are the minors. Certainly, the intermediate and minor ants are the primary gatherers of food and colony constructors.
Carpenter Ant Types
CARPENTER ANT SWARMERS
A carpenter ant swarmer is a winged ant. When grown, it will leave the colony to mate and create its own colony. Specifically, it measures roughly ¾ inches in length, making it larger than the average carpenter ant. So, if you see carpenter ant swarms, it could indicate the presence of a nearby colony.
CARPENTER ANT WORKERS
Most of the colony’s population comprises workers. Carpenter ant workers can measure anywhere from ¼ to ½ inches in length. Their duties include feeding the queen and larvae and defending the nest.
Signs of Carpenter Ants
Winged carpenter ants are likely to emerge from the vents, baseboards, or window molding in your home. They will generally do this in the spring or summer, and if it occurs in large numbers, you may have an infestation. Hence, you’ll need to be aware of any of the following facts about carpenter ants:
- Foraging trails: They will stick to the same trails repeatedly.
- Noise: If you hear crunching sounds, it could indicate carpenter ants are tunneling through your home’s wood.
- Damaged wood: These ants will create smooth galleries in the wood they are tunneling through. Using a moisture meter, you’ll need to check the areas of high moisture in your house, such as the basement or crawl space. These are hot spots for nesting areas.
- Sawdust: If you see small piles of wood shavings combined with insect parts or insulation, you may have carpenter ants creating nesting locations.
Where Carpenter Ants Live
While carpenter ants form colonies, there may be multiple nests within each one. These can be parent and satellite nests. Particularly, the parent nests are where the ant queen and eggs will be found and are usually located outdoors. Satellite nests are home to the workers and can be located indoors or outdoors.
When nests are first built, they’re often located in decaying wood because of how weak it is. Indoor nests are commonly located inside voids found in walls and insulation. While outdoor nests will likely be built-in rotting fence posts, stumps, and firewood.
If you see piles of what you think is sawdust, you may have a carpenter ant nest nearby. And you’ll need to treat any nests on your property as soon as possible. For when left untreated, carpenter ants can compromise your property’s safety by weakening wooden structures.
How Carpenter Ants Get in Your Home
Carpenter ants can easily access your home through windows, doors, utility wires, and pipes. They can also use overgrown tree and shrub branches for an easy pathway to your home. Most times, a nest found inside your home is a satellite of the main colony found outside.
One of the interesting facts regarding mature colonies is that they can house upwards of 100,000 members, which means carpenter ants can pose a severe hazard to the structural integrity of your property as they hollow out their nests.
When Carpenter Ants Come Out
Carpenter ants make themselves known in the spring. You can see them inside and outside your home as they begin foraging for food, including meat, eggs, sweets, and grease.
They look for wood that has been weakened by rot or fungus, hollow-core doors, insulation, or wall voids. In your yard, they’ll look for old tree stumps and any rotting wood they can find.
Carpenter Ant Damage
Carpenter ants and termites differ because carpenter ants don’t eat wood. One of the primary signs that you have an ant infestation is the sawdust left behind from excavating their tunnels. Likewise, carpenter ants are slightly similar to carpenter bees because they both use softwood to form their nests to store food, lay their eggs, and raise their young.
But when left untreated in wooden constructions, carpenter ants will cause severe weakening of the structure. And if enough of these ants are allowed to construct their nests around wooden structures, they can create damage in the hundreds to thousands of dollars range. Hence, any carpenter ant-infested wood must be removed and replaced. These infestations can happen in parts of the home that are crucial to the structural integrity, including joists, joints, and support beams.
However, the damage they cause is nowhere near as bad as that caused by termites. The problem is they will often build their nests right near other nests. While their nests aren’t as large as some other species’ nests, having many in close proximity can expand the possibility for damage and result in multiple infestation areas.
Additionally, these carpenter ants can chew up a significant amount of wood. If you were to examine tree trunks that these ants have damaged, you would see the inside resembles the equivalent of corrugated cardboard. And when this happens inside a wooden structure, it can be severely weakened, and all the damaged wood would need to be replaced.
So if you think you have carpenter ants, don’t wait. Call A.N.T. Pest Control today to help you get rid of carpenter ants in house.
What To Do About Carpenter Ants
Once you know certain facts about carpenter ants, you can take essential measures to help prevent carpenter ant infestations. You’ll need to start by eliminating or reducing their number one food choice–plant pests. These include mealybugs, scale, aphids, and other honeydew-producing insects. So, you’ll need to start by checking your plants. Trim back any that are in contact with your home. Also, follow these tips:
- Ensure your gutters and downspouts are efficiently moving the water away from your building to prevent a build-up of moisture.
- Keep food covered and stored in tightly sealed containers.
- Don’t store firewood next to your building.
- Don’t keep a lot of soil near the building.
- Clean up any food spills.
- Seal all cracks in your structure.
- Remove rotten trees and replace decayed wood.
- Inspect and correct all moisture problems.
A.N.T. Pest Control Carpenter Ant Specialists
Don’t let a carpenter ant infestation damage your property. If you’ve seen signs of carpenter ant damage or the ants themselves, contact A.N.T. Pest Control today at 815-215-7211.