Carpenter ants are one of the most destructive pests that we encounter in this state, so we want customers to know beforehand what to watch out for so that they can catch an infestation before it gets out of hand.
The Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants are usually black or red in color, large, and equipped with two pairs of wings - the hind wings shorter than the front. They are narrow at the waist and have bent antennae, unlike drywood termites with their broad waists and straight antennae. They usually invade homes in the spring in order to build nests in structural lumber, so you might find them dwelling in between your walls, doors, and windows. They like warm, humid areas, so they often target the bathroom, the laundry area, foam insulation in attics, and wet or decayed structures.
There are two carpenter ants to watch out for: the queen and the male. Both will detach their wings after mating, usually in the summer. Males grow to about 1/2 inch, while queens grow up to 2/3 inch.
Signs of an Infestation
Many people mistake carpenter ants for termites, but there are several differences. True to their name, drywood termites prefer dry wood structures like furniture, attic beams, the siding, and porch eaves. In addition, drywood termites eat the wood they nest in, while carpenter ants eject the wood from their holes. Finding a hole in one of your wood structures with a pile of wood shavings directly underneath it the first sure sign of carpenter ants. These shavings will naturally be combined with dead insect parts and other debris.
After finding this, the next thing you'll want to do is check the structure itself. Carpenter ants are known for creating smooth, sandpapery tunnels called galleries. Like drywood termites, they have no preference for hard or soft parts in wood and chew both along and against the grain.
The Dangers of an Infestation
Since they don't spread as quickly as termites, carpenter ants don't cause as much structural damage. Still, the damage will accumulate if the pests are left alone long enough. Though carpenter ants can easily get their food outside - their favorite food being honeydew, which is produced by aphids - they'll forage for other snacks in your kitchen, especially meats and sugary foods.
Eliminating the Carpenter Ant
Like other ants, the carpenter ant can be killed by boric acid and repelled by vinegar; however, these in themselves will not destroy a nest. You'll want to call on A-Academy Termite & Pest Control for a professional treatment. Our team can trace any stray ants back to their nest and spray it down with a non-residual insecticide. Call us today to ask for an inspection.