What is an Carpenter Ant?
These ants get their name from their nest building, where they will excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside of the wood. Unlike many people think, they do not eat wood, they only tunnel and chew through wood to create nests.
The western black carpenter ant colony, when mature, contains about 10-20,000 workers, with large colonies of more than 50,000 individuals. There is usually only one functional, wingless queen per colony. Swarmers are not produced until the colony is more than two years old. They are produced in the previous year and held over the winter in the nest for release the following year.
- Color: Usually red, black or a combination
- Legs: 6
- Shape: Segmented; oval
- Size: 5/8″
- Antennae: Yes
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What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Carpenter ants vary in size and can be anywhere from ½” to ⅝” long. While black carpenter ants are common, these pests may be a combination of black and red, or completely black, red or brown.
Signs of an Infestation
The only external sign of infestation from these ants, other than the presence of workers and/or swarmers, is the appearance of small openings on the surface of wood. Through these, the ants expel debris, which consists of sawdust-like shavings and/or fragments of insulation and insect body parts. The accumulation of this debris below the holes is a good indication of an active infestation.
They prefer to attack wood softened by fungus and are often associated with moisture problems, so it’s always a good idea to ask PMi about inspections and our moisture services.
Carpenter Ants Education
Their nests are built outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. These ants will enter the house through wet, damaged wood.
Threats to Structures
Although they do not eat wood, they can damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they can pose a significant property threat. If you notice these ants in or around your home, it’s a good idea to give us a call so we can minimize the damage to your home.
Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
If you suspect an ant infestation in your home, contact PMi to conduct an interior and exterior inspection and work with you to develop an ant treatment plan. We may inquire about past water leaks, plumbing problems, etc., which could indicate a carpenter ant infestation. In the yard, we will likely check logs, stumps, firewood, tree cavities and loose bark for ant nests. Once the ant species is properly identified, the appropriate control measures can be taken.
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