Carpenter ants are considered a wood destroying insect in most areas of the United States. This ant gets its name from their habit of excavating wood to create voids to house their colonies. These are some of the largest ants you will see around your home.
Where Carpenter Ants Are Commonly Located
Various species of carpenter ants are found throughout the United States. In the eastern United States the most common species is large, about 1/8-1/2 inch in length and black or black and red. Other species can also be black, black and red, totally red or brown.
This specific ant does not eat wood, but will excavate wood to create hollow voids for colony development. They often will attack wood softened by decay fungus or previous termite damage. these ants are also associated with moisture problems. These ants will also excavate foam insulation and sound wood.
Characteristics of a Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ant workers can be of different sizes and the queen can be up to 5/8 inch in length. When a carpenter ant colony matures it may extend satellite colonies in other areas away from the main Colony. For example: The main colony may be in a dead tree hollow and a satellite colony could be in the soffet of a house. Colonies are usually around 3,000 ants but can grow up to 10,,000 or larger to include the satellite colonies. Winged reproductive (swarmers) will usually come out in spring.
Carpenter Ant Colonies
Outside these ants will nest in rotten fence posts, stumps, under fallen logs, in old firewood and dead portions of standing trees. These are usual locations of the parent or main colony. Inside these ants will nest in wall voids, porch structures and attic areas including soffets. Almost any area with previous moisture problems. Carpenter ants will feed other insects, plant juices and honeydew ( a sweet excretion produced by aphids and mealybugs feeding on plant juices). Indoors they will feed on sweets, proteins and grease.
Interesting Facts about carpenter ants
- A carpenter ant can provide a painful bite and inject formic acid into the wound
- The carpenter ants does not eat wood, but only excavates wood to make voids for colonies
- These ants will create secondary colonies out away from their main colony
Carpenter ant control
Carpenter ant control is very difficult and in most cases should be conducted by a trained pest professional. Proper identification is important with an inspection to locate the parent nest and any possible satellite colonies that may be in the structure. Basic control is to locate and treat the nests in conjunction with applied products and baits.