Carpenter ants are the largest ant species in South Florida measuring ½ to 1 inch in length. Most species are black, red, or a combination of both. Carpenter ants have very strong mandibles that they use to tunnel through wood to create their nests.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not feed on wood. They feed primarily on honeydew produced by aphids or mealybugs, and by eating other insects. They receive their common name because they form smooth tunnels and nesting galleries as they excavate the wood. In nature carpenter ants help speed up the decomposition of decaying trees. However, when they get inside your home they lead to significant structural damage. Carpenter ants can tunnel through sound wood, but they prefer to attack moist wood that has been decayed and soften by fungi.
How do I know if I have carpenter ants?
If you notice piles of wood debris or damaged timber, it could be a sign of carpenter ant activity. Dead ants ejected from the colony or swarmers is another sign.
Houses that are surrounded by dense vegetation, trees, and stumps are ideal for carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal. If you go with a flashlight at night, you may see them trailing to and from the nest.
How to prevent carpenter ant infestation?
The most important thing a homeowner can do to prevent carpenter ants is to inspect the property and make sure there is no moisture damage. Leaky pipes and clogged gutters are problems that need to be corrected.
If the carpenter ants are still active after correcting the moisture problem, it is important to call a pest control company right away so that further damage to your home is avoided.
How do you I get rid of carpenter ants?
The first step in getting rid of carpenter ants is to reduce the conductive conditions by correcting moisture problems, sealing entry points, and trimming back vegetation. The second step is to apply residual insecticides and/or baits. The use of non-repellent insecticide around the foundation is an effective method of controlling carpenter ants. When the foragers cross over the treated areas, they will take the active ingredients back to the colony.
When carpenter ant infestations go unattended for a long time, they may have several satellite nests in the wall voids and the attic. The application of a residual dust may be necessary to eliminate the infestation. Treating wall voids requires drilling small accesses holes. The attics can be dusted with electric dusters.
DIY control methods are often ineffective because they only kill the foragers. The majority of the workers are not affected, and the queen is healthy producing eggs 24/7. In short time she will replace the lost workers and will cause more damage to your home.
How serious are carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants excavate tunnels in wood damage by moisture to expand the nest. After a long time and multiple nests carpenter ants will cause serious structural damage to your home.
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