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Carpenter Ants

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Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are one of the major pest ant species found around homes. These ants are very large in size and very dark bodied- appearing black in color. Their workers are foragers and they have large mandibles that they use to bite or pinch. There are about two dozen known species of this ant in the United States.

Where Do They Nest?

Carpenter Ants choose different locations to make a nest. Outdoors you may find their nests in stumps, hollow logs, telephone poles, fence posts and basically anything similar to a large piece of wood. Here, in the Northeastern part of the United States, Carpenter Ants enjoy moist wood or wood that has already been partially decayed.

This does not mean that these ants will not find their way inside your home and nest in places like, windowsills, hollow doors, porch structures, roofs, fireplaces, and shingles. Places with hard wood structure, like such as, cracks, crevices, and other cavities may also be used to start a nest in what is called Sound Wood. *During Winter months, you should always check your firewood before you bring it inside your home, as carpenter ants also nest here. 

The Queen, is always located in the primary nest which is located away from a home or infested area. Nests located within the infested area are called secondary or satellite nests where no egg-laying Queen is present.

How is Their Nest Created?

With their long mandibles, these ants excavate “nest galleries” inside of wood. These galleries resemble the work of termites. The difference between the termite and Carpenter Ant excavation will be shown in the appearance of the nested area. Excavation from the Carpenter Ant will appear very clear, almost like sandpaper smooth- hence the reason they have their name.

The Carpenter Ant Diet

Wood is NOT a source of food for Carpenter Ants. The foraging ants will travel up to 100 yards from their nest to scavenge for food. Their diet consists of both animal and plant foods. They also feed on other insects whether they are dead or alive. Honeydew is very attractive to these ants. Most of the sweets you may find in your Kitchen pantry or storage are fed upon like, syrup, honey, jelly, and sugar. They leave pheromones along the trails they take while foraging for food to alert other ants in their colony. Warmer months of the year, foraging takes place during early night time hours using the trails and pheromones left from previous scavengers.

Importance of Looking Out For Carpenter Ants

Like termites, Carpenter Ants are destructive insects to wood. While you should have general pest control, making sure your home is clear of these types of ants is just as important as having termite prevention. Although, these ants do not eat the wood from your home, they nest inside of all types of wood. Their nesting activities lead to structural damage which can weaken buildings and homes.

 

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Source: Truman's Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations- Seventh Edition