Carpenter ants have become a growing problem for much of the United States over the years. While they play a vital role in nature, we as home and business owners can all agree that we do not want them anywhere near our homes or businesses. In nature, carpenter ants aid in the decomposition of decaying trees and fallen wood and are known as a part of “Nature’s clean-up crew”. When they are able to breach our homes, they can cause real damage to the structures, our decks, furniture, sheds and other wood sources. Being able to identify carpenter ants is an important part of successfully getting rid of them. Some mistake carpenter ants for “white ants”, or termites, when in fact, they are both very different. Here is how you can identify carpenter ants.
Carpenter Ant Identification
-Black or brown in color
-Large size; carpenter ants are big ants. Worker ants measure around 3/8-1/2-inch length, while winged swarmers are much bigger and can measure 1/2 – 1-inch in length.
-Segmented bodies; termites do not have segmented bodies but carpenter ants do
-Round thorax; this is the body part just below their head.
-Vinegar smell when squished; If you happen to smoosh one or more carpenter ants, they release a formic acid that smells similar to vinegar.
Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestations in Your House
Unlike their counterparts, the termite, carpenter ants do not eat wood. Instead, they burrow inside of it to find a place to nest and start their colonies. They prefer damp wood and look for areas that stay moist. If you see small piles of what appears to be wood shavings beneath wooden areas or trees, along with holes about 1/8 in diameter, you are likely dealing with carpenter ants. Their colonies are not always easily identifiable because they will hide in safe places such as in wall voids and in other hidden areas. One good indication is if you hear faint rustling noises in your walls. Simply put your ear up to the wall, knock or tap on the wall and listen closely. The knocking or tapping sound is likely to disturb the nest. The areas of a home that are most vulnerable to carpenter ants are bathrooms, kitchens, beneath windows, decks, porches and under roof eaves, because they are the dampest areas of the home. You will have the best luck with this method of looking in these areas. They tend to stay around an easy food and water source, feeding on dead insects, honeydew from aphids and extrafloral nectar from plants. However, as most insects do, carpenter ants will always take the path of least resistance and will settle for spilled soda, syrup, honey and other sweet juices left behind by humans. And last, but certainly not least, one of the greatest signs of an infestation you can spot is when carpenter ants begin to swarm. When the weather is warm and humid, swarmers will leave the nest in search of a mate to start a “satellite nest” with. This only happens once a nest has fully matured, so if you see a swarm of carpenter ants, you can be certain there is a large, mature nest somewhere nearby.
Carpenter Ant Inspections, Control & More in Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville, Cedar Park & Austin Texas
Carpenter ants have the uncanny ability to go undetected for years at a time. During this period, they can cause extensive damage to homes and trees in the area. Your best line of defense is having regular pest control inspections and treatments. An experienced pest control tech will know what signs to look for to identify carpenter ant infestations and how to treat them to eradicate them and deter them from coming back again. Most people think that when they see ants, they can simply wipe them up, or suck them up into a vacuum and the problem is gone. Truth is, ants leave behind a pheromone that tells other worker ants where to go. Proper cleaning, disinfecting and elimination of ant nests is in order to deter them from returning. A-Tex Pest Management has years of experience identifying and treating carpenter ants, as well as other wood-destroying organisms, if you would like to schedule a professional pest inspection or have further questions, don’t hesitate to call us. Early intervention is key when dealing with carpenter ants.