Carpenter Ants

Prevent the damage they cause to wood structures

Ants can be a huge problem if they get into your home or business. Ants will travel searching for food, following trails they have established and clustering around sources of food.

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in homes and live in colonies containing three castes consisting of winged and wingless queens, winged males and different sized workers. Winged males are much smaller than winged queens. Wingless queens measure 5/8 inch, winged queens 3/4 inch to the tips of their folded brownish wings, small minor workers 1/4 inch and large major workers 1/2 inch. Workers have some brown on them while queens are black. Workers have large heads and a small thorax while adult swarmers have a smaller head and large thorax.

Carpenter ants have a smoothly rounded arched (convex) shape to the top of the thorax when viewed from the side and a pedicel between the thorax and abdomen consisting of only one segment or node. They have constricted waists, elbowed antennas and the reproductive forewings are larger than the hind wings, transparent or brownish and not easily removed. Adults are usually black with some species red, brown or yellow occurring on parts of the body and legs. Eggs are about 1/8-inch long, cream colored and oval. Larvae are legless and grub-like, later pupating in tough silken, tan-colored cocoons erroneously referred to as “ant eggs.”

Nests are usually established in soft, moist (not wet), decayed wood or occasionally in an existing wood cavity or void area in a structure that is perfectly dry. Workers cut galleries in the wood, expanding the nest size for the enlarging colony. Galleries are irregular, usually excavated with the wood grain (sometimes across the grain) into softer portions of the wood. The walls of the nest are smooth and clean (sandpapered appearance) with shredded sawdust-like wood fragments, like chewed up toothpicks (frass), carried from the nest and deposited outside. These piles of wood fragments, often found beneath special openings (windows) or nest openings, may contain portions of insects, empty seed coats, etc.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood but excavate wood galleries to rear their young ants and carry aphids to plants, placing them on leaves for the production of honeydew. The food diet is of great variety (omnivorous) of both plant and animal origin such as plant juices, fresh fruits, insects (living or dead), meats, syrup, honey, jelly, sugar, grease, fat, honey dew (aphid excrement), etc. They feed readily on termites and usually never co-exist with them in a home. Workers are known to forage for food as far as 100 yards from their nest.

If you think you have a carpenter ant infestation then give Delmar a call at 1-800-200-5441 to stop these wood destroying ants.

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