Carpenter Ants

Prevention of Carpenter Ants

Common reasons for the carpenter ant to invade a home include left out food and poor home maintenance. In order to prevent this, it is crucial to keep proper sanitary conditions in the home. Exteriorly, carpenter ants may be attracted to such items as undisturbed wood piles.

Be diligent about keeping wood piles raised off the ground and far from the home. Make sure these piles do not sit undisturbed for long periods of time. By reducing carpenter ants opportunity for entry, there is a higher likelihood of steering clear of these pests.

Carpenter Ant Nest – from Iowa State University Horticultural News
Carpenter Ant Nest Picture from Iowa State University Horticultural News

Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter ants habitually build their nests by hollowing out a wood source. Wood sources may include, but are not limited to trees and houses. If nests are able to grow for a long period of time, serious damage to the structure of the wood source may occur.

Carpenter Ant Damage to a wall beam

Controlling Carpenter Ants with professional products and techniques

Carpenter ants can be combated by many pest control methods. Such methods may include sprays, dusts and baits. If Carpenter ants nest inside a home, it is not atypical to find more colonies nearby.

For this reason it is important to provide your home with an ongoing maintenance program in order to keep ant populations under control. Maintenance programs may include perimeter sprays and baits, which can help reduce the likelihood of ants re-entering your home.

Wood damage due to Carpenter ants.

Wood damage due to Carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ant Biology

Carpenter ants vary in size from roughly one quarter to three eights of an inch. This ant is well known for its powerful mandibles, which it uses to carve nests through tree stumps.

The coloration of this species is usually red, brown or shades of in between. Once a main nest is established other satellite nests will begin to branch off from the main nest. These satellite colonies are usually within one hundred to three hundred feet from the main nest.

These colonies are connected through scent markers.  If one nest is under attack or destroyed it is common for these ants to rebuild the nest.

The Life Cycle of the Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ant damage to a floor

Carpenter Ant Food Sources

Carpenter ants have been known to eat a wide array of food. In their natural environment Carpenter ants have been commonly seen eating other insects and sugary honeydew.

Honeydew is obtained from the behavioral adaptations of the symbiotic relationship of tending to aphids and different types of scales.

These insects produce a sugary byproduct in their excrements, which the ants have learned to feed from. On the interior of ones home Carpenter ants have been know to snack on leftover meats and sugary products such as soda, candy and juice.

Carpenter Ants Tending Hemipterans

Habitat and range of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are capable of living in a wide variety of habitats, which include California and most of the United States. Preferably these ants enjoy moist, concealed, undisturbed environments; however there are always exceptions and these ants have been seen nesting in environments not listed above when conditions permit.

For more information on ants and ant species, visit our page on Ant Control

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Carpenter Ant References

Texas A&M University Field Guide

University of California Carpenter Ant Pest Notes

Kentucky University Entomology Facts – Carpenter Ants

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/dk1015.html

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