Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are often confused as termites, and along with termites, are one of the most damaging pests in existence. Carpenter ants tunnel through wood leaving piles of frass, which looks like pencil-shavings.  Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species in America growing up to ¾ inch in length. 

General Information

Carpenter ants vary in size depending on the species, measuring between 3/8 – 1/2 inch long, with some species measuring 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. Carpenter ants may be totally black, combinations of red, orange, yellow and black, or completely red or brown. They can be distinguished from most other large ant species because the top of the thorax is evenly convex and bears no spines. Carpenter ants feed on dead insects and sugary liquids and tend to build their tunnels and nests near sources of food.

They live both indoors and outdoors, preferring to make their homes within moist or rotted wood. They do not eat wood, but they make their nests in wood structures, especially structures that have been exposed to severe moisture. Areas like window sills, decks, and roof eaves are particularly at risk of infestation. Carpenter ants require moisture and warmth to survive and most likely end up in a wet area of your home. Lots of times a homeowner has no idea of the moisture problem until the carpenter ants make that evident. Early detection is the best way to prevent damage.

There are three types of carpenter ants… workers, soldiers, and winged ants (swarmers). While the worker ants gather food, winged ants are a sign of a colony formation. Winged ants emerge when a colony has reached its full potential and is forming new colonies. If you spot winged ants, it means you have well-established colonies around you.

There are three types of carpenter ants… workers, soldiers, and winged ants (swarmers). While the worker ants gather food, winged ants are a sign of a colony formation. Winged ants emerge when a colony has reached its full potential and is forming new colonies. If you spot winged ants, it means you have well-established colonies around you.

Carpenter ants build two types of nests – parent nests and satellite nests. The parent nests are typically found outdoors and contain more moisture and eggs. Satellite nests are mostly full of worker ants and tend to be a bit drier than the parent nests. These types of nests are often ones found inside the home. Because satellite nests are smaller than parent nests, they’re even harder to detect.

However, here are some sure-fire signs of an infestation:

Carpenter ants will travel up to 300 feet from a nesting site for a food source, so the possibilities of nest locations are endless. Carpenter ants invade properties while foraging for food and shelter. Once inside they can move behind the walls or underneath of floors and create tunnels and nesting areas within the structural wood of the property. These tunnels and nesting areas can eventually weaken the structural integrity of a home or other building.

The experienced pest control professionals at Altus Pest Control have the training and services needed to quickly eliminate all damaging carpenter ants from your property.

Ant or Termite?

Many times people will confuse a carpenter ant with a termite, especially when they are swarming. The carpenter ant swarmers are pretty easily identifiable in comparison with a termite swarm. The termite swarmers will have wings that are equal in length. The carpenter ant swarmer will have different lengths in their front and back wings. Swarmers typically appear from February through June in the Pacific NW.

Termites and carpenter ants cause similar damage to damp, dead wood. Oftentimes, you’ll see piles of wood shavings near wood that’s infested with either termites or carpenter ants. But in order to eradicate the infestation, you have to make sure you’re treating your property for the correct pest.

Carpenter ants differ from termites in that they have dark-colored bodies and narrow waists. Termites don’t have segmented bodies and have a large head. The carpenter ant antenna is crooked (bent), whereas the termite will have a straight antenna. A worker termite is wingless, creamy-white in color, and has straight antennae. You’re unlikely to see these pests unless you break open a mud tube. On the other hand, carpenter ants are a common sight. Worker ants are black with three body segments, a slender waist, and bent antennae.

Here are some ways do identify the differences between Flying Ants vs Termites:

Unlike the muddy or rough holes that termites tend to leave behind, carpenter ants make clean, smooth holes. When you have an infestation that goes undetected for many months or even years, or when you have a very large colony indoors, these ants can cause significant damage to the wood in your home. In some cases, these ants can even cause structural damage.

How Altus Pest Control Can Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Before treating an ant infestation, it is important for a state licensed technician to identify the type of ant and the source of the infestation. Once the problem has been identified, a customized plan of action can begin.

We specialize in carpenter ant elimination. Altus Pest Control understands how damaging carpenter ants can be for homeowners. Protecting health and property is what we do.

Effective treatment of carpenter ant infestations requires reaching ants you see and those you don’t. Most do-it-yourself ant control products only kill the ants you see, not the colonies themselves. Carpenter ant colonies can reach tremendous numbers, from 50,000 to 100,000 workers. The only way to ensure carpenter ants won’t return is by eliminating the colony. An Altus Pest Control specialist will apply a residual product in the nesting area and the areas where they are trafficking. This product is transferred throughout the ant colony as ants come in contact with each other. Ants communicate through physical contact. As the infected ants return to their nest, they continue to spread the treatment throughout the colony. 

Carpenter ants prefer damp wood, so it’s essential to ensure your property has adequate ventilation to decrease moisture levels. You should also address any plumbing or roof leaks that may be contributing to water in your home. While sealing up holes, increasing ventilation, and other do-it-yourself methods are a good start, they are rarely enough to put a stop to your carpenter ant infestation permanently.

If you see these ants in your home or if you see holes caused by them, you’ll need help from Altus Pest Control. Our professional technicians will ensure that these ants are thoroughly eliminated before they can cause additional damage to your home.

Altus Pest Control provides the BEST in carpenter ant elimination and prevention