Carpenter Ants

How do I recognize a carpenter ant?

The carpenter ant is a large member of the ant family, measuring three to 12 mm (1/8″ to 1/4″). Colour is either black or black with red. Antennae are elbowed and they have large heads with strong mandibles (jaws) used for chewing. Reproductive forms are winged.

Do carpenter ants cause damage?

Yes. Because carpenter ants tunnel in wood to build their colonies, an infestation can cause serious structural damage if left unchecked.

When are carpenter ants most common?

You are most likely to see swarms of winged (reproductive) carpenter ants in May and June, as this is their mating season.

Where am I most likely to find carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants prefer moist areas and may construct their nests anywhere in the home including walls, ceilings, attics, doors, sills, shingles and insulation. Carpenter ants are most active during the night when they forage for food.

Are carpenter ants hazardous to humans?

Yes. Since carpenter ants are attracted to foods such as honey, jelly, fruit and meat, they can carry disease germs from one area to another. Although they do not sting, they can inflict bites.

What are their breeding habits? Do they multiply quickly?

Carpenter ants are social insects, living in colonies. Within the colony winged reproductives are not produced until the colony is established, which takes about two to three years. After mating the winged reproductives leave the colony to establish new ones. Once established, an average colony contains 2,000 to 3,000 carpenter ants.

Do weather conditions affect the size of a carpenter ant infestation?

Yes. Warm, moist weather presents ideal conditions for carpenter ant colonies to establish themselves.

How can I tell if I have a carpenter ant infestation on my property?

The presence of worker ants in your home is one of the first indications of an establishing carpenter ant colony. Check all areas where you suspect moisture. The presence of chewed wood similar to sawdust is an indication of an active nest. Any flying insect in the home is cause for concern and a professional in pest control should be consulted.

What can I do to prevent an infestation of carpenter ants?

The elimination of moist conditions by providing good ventilation and isolating wood from any direct contact with the soil will aid in carpenter ant prevention. Foods should be kept in sealed containers and areas where food is stored kept free of spillage or crumbs. Eliminate old lumber, logs and stumps from around your property and do not store firewood inside die building. In the case of new construction only properly treated lumber should be used.

If I have an infestation of carpenter ants, what can I do to eliminate them?

Both the detection and elimination of carpenter ants is a difficult and lengthy process. It is recommended that a PCO professional trained to eliminate pests such as carpenter ants be contacted for thorough results.

Please remember all pesticides can be harmful if misused. Follow the label directions carefully.