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Carpenter ants are tiny insects with multiple legs, wings, and antennas. The body is comprised of three main parts. They vary in color, ranging from solid black to a mixture of black and red. It is very unusual to see a carpenter ant alone because they work and survive as a colony.
Like other tiny insects, the carpenter ant has a strong mandible, which they utilize to bore holes into wooden structures, such as trees and building structures. The bored holes are utilized as a shelter for all or part of the colony.
The adult carpenter ant varies in length, ranging between 1/8 and ½ an inch. The queen carpenter ant can grow up to 5/8 inches when food is readily available.
Carpenter Ants – Senses And Signs Of Infestation
The carpenter ant relies on three main senses to survive. These include sound, feeling, and sight. The antenna “feeler” is primarily utilized for touch. The insect will utilize its antennas to scope out specific areas to determine if they are safe.
It is believed that carpenter ants have receptors on their body for scent detection.
It is possible to hear a colony of carpenter ants when they are hard at work. The noise may sound like the crackling and crumpling of paper. Fortunately, most victims rarely report a crackling sound even when their home is severely infested with carpenter ants.
Another sign of a carpenter ant infestation is what many refer to as a “sawdust trail.” The sawdust is contributed to the carpenter ant boring into wood. If you see a trail of sawdust on your basement, crawlspace, or attic, there are probably carpenter ants nearby.
Carpenter ants tend to swarm in search of food and during mating season. When the insect swarms, its wings will gyrate extremely quickly.
What Causes Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are drawn to rotting wood. When they pick up on the scent of decaying wood, they will utilize their receptacles and antennas to locate it. Some homeowners have reported carpenter ant infestations inside their home. In many cases, a smaller colony of carpenter ants indoors means a much larger colony outdoors.
When you detect signs of a carpenter ant infestation in your home, you can almost always guarantee there is a larger colony somewhere on the exterior of your property.
Carpenter Ants – Are They Harmless Or Harmful
Carpenter ants do not pose a threat to humans and pets. However, they do pose a severe threat to your property. When these insects are permitted to go undetected for any amount of time, structural damage is always a possibility.
Carpenter Ant Infestation – Eradication Methods
Getting rid of a carpenter ant colony is never an easy task. In fact, a carpenter ant infestation is one of the most difficult pest infestations to eradicate. In severe cases, exterminators will utilize a combination of pesticides and traps. These products are very effective, but in some cases, a repeat treatment is required to completely eradicate the colony.
Carpenter Ant Treatment – DIY And Professional
Mild to moderate carpenter ant infestations can be treated with over-the-counter pesticides and traps. More severe cases, not so much. A severe case would consist of two or more colonies, with the nests on the interior and exterior of the home.
It is not recommended for inexperienced people to mix pesticides. Follow the instructions on the back of the container to avoid harmful side effects.
Carpenter Ant Prevention
The best way to keep carpenter ants away from your home is to conduct quarterly inspections. If decaying wood is detected during the inspection, you will need to remove it ASAP. If you fail to do this, your home will be at risk of a carpenter ant infestation.