The black carpenter ant is one of the common pests that invade our homes apart from mice, roaches and other insects. These ants usually invade the house in droves and are considered to be harmful to the wood of the house.
But, how do you know for sure that they have infested your place? It’s easy. When you see an ant or two, there is no reason to panic.
The problem occurs only when a colony of ants makes your home as their dwelling.
Homeowners can look for the following indications to find out if their house is infested by carpenter ants or not:
Worldwide, there are over 900 species of carpenter ants. These ants are long-legged, fast-moving ants that are capable of inflicting a painful bite. They are among the largest of ants and do invade homes to forage for food and build nests.
Carpenter ants are large reddish-brown to black ants from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. Their abdomen pedicel consists of one segment. The black carpenter ant, most common in the northeastern states is a dull black color and has yellow hair covering its abdomen.
The red carpenter, most common in the gulf coast states, has a red head and thorax with a black abdomen.
Ants develop from an egg to larva and pupa, to an adult worker or reproductive. They make new nests by sending out winged reproductives that mate and start a new colony.
The mating flights take place in spring and depends on temperature and other environmental conditions. Winged reproductives fly at night during the rainy season.
Following the flight, the queen drops to the ground and begins searching for a suitable nest site. Nests are often constructed under loose tree bark and in wood that is on the ground.
When a suitable nest is found the queen lays eggs, which will mature into adult ants within 50 to 70 days. A carpenter ant colony can reach several thousand workers.
Feeding And Foraging Habits
Ants forage at night, from just before sunset to two hours after sunset. They have loose, not very well defined trails. The ants are found feeding on sweets such as honeydew on shrubbery, and nectar from flowers. These ants will also eat live and dead insects when young ants are being reared in the colonies nest.
How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Direct treatment or removal of the nest is recommended. However, finding the nest site can be very difficult. Sealing gaps in your house’s exterior, removing tree stumps, woodpiles and chemical treatment will provide effective control of your ant problems.
To find a nest inside your house, follow foraging ants in the evening hours as these ants will lead to the nest.
When the nest is found, treat it with a labeled insecticide for carpenter ants. Insect baits are also available and should be placed according to the product label, where they are foraging for food.
With the combination of a bait application, nest removal or chemical treatment and excluding openings outside your house, you will be able get rid of carpenter ants like a professional.