CARPENTER ANTS

Carpenter ants are often seen inside of homes throughout the spring and summer. These may either be worker ants foraging for food or reproductive ants leaving the nest to mate.
Carpenter ants are often seen inside of homes throughout the spring and summer. These may either be worker ants foraging for food or reproductive ants leaving the nest to mate.

Pest Name: Carpenter Ants

Scientific Name: Camponotus Modoc and Camponotus vicinus

Signs of an Infestation: Seeing frass (sawdust-like material), ants trailing, or hearing scratching noises in the walls. Activity is highest June through August. Reproductive Carpenter Ants emerge in June. The future queens are quite large, often with wings. Depending on the nest location and the weather, activity may also be present as early as March and as late as October.

Characteristics and General Information: Carpenter Ants are quite large in comparison to other ants and are usually all black (c. modoc) or black with a red thorax (c. vicinus). They are wood destroying organisms and may be found nesting in all types of structural timber, in fiberglass or foam core insulation and in wall voids. It is a common misperception that carpenter ants “eat” wood. Although they are using their mandibles, the damage they create is made for the purpose of removing the wood to expand their nest galleries - not to eat it.

In the early springtime when the reproductives emerge, it can be quite alarming to see the large, winged ants.  Often though, these will be a few lone ants that have made their way into the house. The important thing is to look for patterns of ants trailing to and from a specific location.

Once an issue is identified, treating it early is important, as they can be quite damaging to your home. The “parent colony” is often found outside, in trees, stumps or other landscape timbers. However, as populations increase, they will divide their colony into a network of satellite colonies. These are the nest sites usually found within a home or similar structure.

Control Measures: Using a product which allows the worker ants to transfer it back to the colony is key for effective control. Carpenter ants are different from odorous house ants in that with a thorough inspection, the location of their nest site can usually be identified. Therefore, taking the time to find and treat that colony directly can expedite the effectiveness of treatment.

Sometimes aggressive measures may be taken such as drilling and treating into wall voids if colonies appear to be nesting in those locations. However, the level of control measures prescribed will depend on how active colonies are outside.

 Prevention: Trim vegetation away from the structure and make there is a 3” clearance between the base of your siding and soil or landscape material. Be sure that your technician may be able to inspect and apply a thorough preventative application around the full perimeter of foundation. (Do not store items against the structure, confirm all gates are unlocked and all areas may be accessed, etc.)