There are many different types of carpenter ants found throughout the U.S. They will build their colonies both inside and outside, but prefer structural lumber. They do not carry any diseases, but can damage your home. When a home becomes infested, it is best to call professionals like those at Pest Control Inc. to rid the home completely of the ants. Once they are gone, there are various ways to prevent another infestation.
Appearance and Life-cycle:
Worker carpenter ants are about 1/4th of an inch long, while the queen ants are 3/4th of an inch long, making them one of the largest species of ants. They are the typical oval shape with 6 legs and antennae. The color can range from red to black.
Queens can live up to 25 years and can lay 9-16 eggs in the first year. After producing worker ants, she feeds them saliva. She does not leave the nest or eat until the workers are ready to begin gathering food for the next generation. The life-cycle lasts about 6-12 weeks.
Habitat and Behavior:
Each colony has a single queen and can eventually have more than 2,000 workers. The queen begins the nest in a wood cavity, but it can take anywhere from 3-6 years to develop a full colony.
Carpenter ants build colonies where they can find water and moldy wood, like tree stumps, firewood, and plants around the house. These ants prefer to nest within structural lumber, like wall voids, hollow doors, windows, and foam panels. Carpenter ants enter buildings through wet, damaged wood.
They dig tunnels within the wood, which weakens and damages the wood. There will also be a pile of wood shavings at the entrance of the colony.
Their diet includes insects, both dead and alive, meat, fats and sugary foods, and nectar from plants.
Level of Danger:
Carpenter ants are not especially dangerous to humans. They do not carry any diseases, but they do bite when threatened. The bite can be painful and might even break the skin. Although they can bite, the most damage a carpenter ant will do is on your home. They can cause structural damage from building tunnels in the wood. Because of that, it is imperative to make sure the ants are completely removed from the home to minimize the damage.
Signs of Infestation:
If you see worker ants inside the home, then that is a clear sign of a carpenter ant infestation. Although, there is no guarantee that you will see worker ants if your home is infested. There are other things you can look for, like piles of wood shavings. Those piles indicate the entrance of the colony. You might also hear faint rustling noises inside walls. Larger winged ants could also emerge from ceilings, walls, and other hidden crevices.
There are many things you can do to prevent a carpenter ant infestation. Bugs are attracted to moisture, so eliminating standing water is a simple way to keep bugs from taking over your home. It is also helpful to keep branches and bushes cut back away from the home, so they cannot use them to gain access. Removing firewood or building materials away from the house also does the same thing. Finally, seal any openings in the foundation.
If you suspect your home is infested, call Pest Control Inc. to get rid of the problem.