Remember as a kid calling these guys army ants. They would take over the back yard and drop a piece candy, forget about it. Although this species of ant is a nuisance it has several agricultural benefits. Often confused with termites these ants do destroy wood. When irritated or threatened, they can and will inflict a painful bite. To increase the pain they are known to spray formic acid into bite wounds. Although this rarely happens I feel it’s best to know the possibilities.
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Pest Library Description
Carpenter ants, the first thing to look for is the number of “nodes” or segments on that thin waist that separates their abdomen and their thorax. On many ant species there will be two segments, and for the rest, there are only one Carpenter ants fit into this group of “single node” ants which are not equipped with a stinger. This difference will help you distinguish between harvester or pavement ants. The color of carpenter ants will vary from species to species. Most are black, but some may be a light brown or tan color, others more reddish, or perhaps a combination of red and black body sections. A very distinctive feature is the look of the thorax, which on carpenter ants is a smooth.
Carpenter Ants Colonies
They prefer to create their colonies inside wood, and even when they nest in the soil outdoors they look for old tree root systems or buried lumber i.e. Carpenter ant. They do not “eat wood”, but only chew off pieces of it to expand a cavity. You may see this frass on the inside of your home if these ants are working there, perhaps in the rafters above your ceiling or some other vertical pieces of wood. As they enlarge the cavities they will live in they keep their new homes clean by expelling the debris of chewed wood from which it sifts down onto kitchen counters, window sills, or your floor. In fact, any miscellaneous junk in the colony will be ejected.
Carpenter ants, for the most part, are nocturnal insects and do most of their work outside their colony at night. If you need to follow the ants back to their nest in the soil you may need to spend some time with a flashlight after the sun goes down. They move along well-established trails, and often choose other kinds of lines that we provide for them, such as garden hoses laying on the ground, the edges of walls or boards, and within the walls of the home along electric wires and pipes that run through the wall voids. One easy pathway for them to enter your home is the branches of trees and shrubs that touch the walls or roof outside. A major part of ant control is exclusion, and by trimming plants away from the home you can take away this access, not only for ants but for any other insects and for rodents.
Most often in the late spring, you will see ants with wings flying around your yard, coming to porch lights, or landing on the surface of your pool or backyard pond. These are the fertile males and females which came from a nearby colony of ants, but whose job is to mate and to initiate new colonies. The male immediately after mating with a female will die. The female then loses her wings, no longer needing them for any more flights in her lifetime, and she burrows into the soil or some soft wood to create a small chamber for herself and the new to come colony.
The problem is when they discover your home as a suitable alternative. They wander in through narrow gaps and holes they discover around the outside of the home and look for a protected cavity in which to set up a new home. They often discover voids already in existence, such as hollow doors, wall voids, spaces between insulation and flooring in the crawl space. Or, they may go to the trouble to make their own cavities, these ants can cause serious damage to the wood, threatening the integrity of the wall itself.
Ants belong in a healthy environment, so eradicating all ants is not the goal – keeping them out of the house is the priority. Here are some thoughts you might put to use.
Carpenter ants are one of the recyclers in Nature. Their role, along with predation of other insects, is to reduce dead wood to sawdust, which then can be returned to the soil as nutrition for new growing plants. Without the work of carpenter ants, termites, beetles, and other insects that decompose dead trees we would have a lot of dead trees cluttering the forest floor. Our goal, however, is to keep these insects from attempting to recycle the dead trees that our homes are made from for as long as possible.
|If carpenter ants are a recurring problem, you may want to think about installing a small strip of gravel or stones around your home.||Stumps, Firewood, piles Old trees, especially if their branches touch your house. Piles of yard waste. need to be removed away from the home as best as possible|
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