If you are looking at an ant in your home, and it appears to be particularly large, chances are that you are looking at a carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are typically ¼ to ½ inches long. A winged queen carpenter ant can be up to ¾ inches long.
Carpenter ants love to start tunneling in wood that is damp, so if you have water damage in your home, you are at a higher risk of a carpenter ant invasion. What these ants do, is they start chewing into the softer, damp wood, and from there, they tunnel into the harder, more sound wood of a structure.
A tunnel, or irregularly shaped hollowing of wood they have chewed through, is called a gallery. In these galleries is where the carpenter ants attain their ultimate goal: laying eggs and feeding their young within wooden structures. The softer, wet wood obviously makes for an easier material to chew through; in addition to this advantage the ants have with wet wood, the water offers growth of fungus/molds as a food supply.
Contrary to a common misconception, carpenter ants don’t actually ingest wood, like termites do. Their food sources entail: the mold/fungus within the wet wood, as previously mentioned, along with other dead or alive insects. They are especially happy to eat sweets, fats, and proteins.
The carpenter ants’ sweet tooth, so to say, is what brings them into OUR view.. A human’s view. They venture out from their wooden burrows, scouting for the foods that us humans ingest within our homes.
It is in that moment, where you are searching for a treat yourself, that you stumble across the abnormally large carpenter ant and wonder…. Where is that coming from?… or Do we have a carpenter ant problem?… and finally, Is our home still structurally sound?
After your encounter, it would be ideal to have your suspicions investigated.
There are a few ways to prevent and eradicate a carpenter ant issue, so let me cover the prominent options that our companies extend to customers:
- Number one is to prevent an infestation all together. Being prompt with caring for leaks or water damage to the home, clearing away rotting trees and lumber piles, making sure that no tree branches or twigs are touching your home (serving as bridges for ants to enter), seal cracks and opening around the foundation, especially where pipes and wires enter from outside. It would also be a good idea to stack firewood away from the house and off of the ground.
- Inspecting to determine where carpenter ants’ colonies may be located on your property: inside the home versus outside of the home. Sometimes, you see carpenter ants inside of your home, simply because they are foraging for food to take back outside to their nests. In tracking the foraging trails, we may understand the location of the ants’ nests. After this observation, the inspector would determine how large of a carpenter ant infestation a property has, meaning, colonies versus satellite colonies. A satellite colony is less fortunate for a homeowner but not uncommon. Satellite colonies mean that the carpenter ants have essentially formed a “town” versus a single-family home. Multiple homes… All in all, this step towards eradication or prevention would be labeled as gaining understanding to the dynamics of a carpenter ant infestation specific to your property for the best consideration towards pest control.
- Baiting carpenter ant trails.
- Spraying insecticides to the perimeter of your home.
- Treating galleries and voids with foam and dust applications.
Call your local pest control company, Triangle Home Services, Inc. or Fogle Termite and Pest Control to get a free inspection and estimate. If you are happy with the estimate, services can be done the same day, if not the next.