Carpenter Ants

Appearance and Behavior of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are considered to be among those that belong to the largest ant species in the world, with a scientific name of Camponotus. They are found to be domestic inhabitants in forested areas and are believed to multiply there and form greater families of their generation by forming nests inside some wood with galleries chewed out from their mandibles, usually in dead, damp wood, thus, they are named carpenter ants.

carpenter ants structure

Picture 1 – Structure of carpenter ants

Image Source – waynesword.palomar.edu

The galleries that they form serve as their passageway from end to end as they build nests to accommodate thousands of ants, where one end is mostly the place they stay and the other end leads to the place where they can get their food sources to feed themselves, sometimes passing through a tunneling system that they create on various woods.

The common examples of their food are parts of other dead insects around them and living insects they caught that they try to carry and gather to feed their colonies, extracts from honeydew produced by aphids on plant trees, other plant honeydew extracts and some meat that human beings eat where they can find beneficial to them for survival. The food they have are mostly rich in carbohydrates and proteins. The most common time they search for food is during night time by the workers in the group that create a mode of channeling to inform the message to other colonies. They can do the task individually or in groups through a systematic way of gathering the food enough for all. They have the thought of gathering and saving all food sources until they got everything before they try to transfer to another place in search of food.

carpenter ants image structure

Picture 2 – Features of carpenter ants

Carpenter ants have the approximate measurement that ranges from 0.3 inch to 1 inch long (0.76 cm to 2.54cm). They love to reside both on indoor and outdoor spaces of dead trees in the forests and in some wooden-made houses and similar buildings where they notice to find damp, moist areas as favorable for them to stay and multiply. They have the capacity to destroy and damage wooden buildings and structures of similar built-type. These type of ants do not eat the wood for one reason that they are not capable of digesting the cellulose substance into their system, so what they always tend to do, is just make a lot of tunnels where they can make nesting stations for their queens.

carpnetre ant Vs termite

Picture 3 – Carpenter ants Vs Termites

The colonies they form consists of the male carpenter ants, the female carpenter ants which will be their queens to lay eggs after mating with  males, and the third group is what they call the workers. The workers are in two groups, one group is composed of soldiers to guard their nests and the second group is assigned for gathering food.

During the mating season, it has been found out that the males die, while the female queens survive to lay eggs in the prepared nests and form new groups of colonies. They have the so-called satellite nests for the queens and the primary nests for the workers in the group.

Do Carpenter Ants Bite?

Carpenter ants have no risk to sting but they can cause a very painful bite, and the formic acid that they release into the wound will have a burning sensation on the person being bitten that often gives much discomfort. They bite individuals, especially in instances when their nests formed are being disturbed and broken in houses or buildings.

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

One of their significant characteristic to differentiate them from termites is that, they only have one single bulge that is located at their narrow waist portion of their body and they also have an evenly rounded back and seem to be having a heart-shaped form of their head. The reproductive male carpenter ants as well as the female queens have special type of forewings that are larger in size compared to their hind wings. These wings are transparent and brownish in color. The most common type is the black carpenter ant which is all black in color, with the legs having dark red color, while some is a mixture of the black and red color.

How to Kill and Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

Damage due to carpenter ants to wood

Picture 4 – Wood damage due to carpenter ants

Image Source – the-piedpiper.co.uk

The early treatment or management after the discovery of an infestation of the carpenter ants to a wooden home or any wooden building is the best way to prevent any structural damage caused by the presence of a lot of these ants. There are two means to do it, either through the nonchemical management or the chemical management procedures.

Nonchemical Management

  • Make sure to remove and cleanse places with meat and sweet food supplies and store them in closed tightly-sealed containers.
  • Regularly check growing trees around and cut tree branches that tend to touch any wooden structure.
  • Refer any damaged or decayed wooden part of the house or building for repair and replacement.
  • Presence of leaky pipes and destroyed gutters around the house and buildings should be replaced or fixed the soonest possible time.
  • Check areas which are often wet and damp for improved ventilation of the site.
  • Places which are clogged up with water or prone to be clogged up during the rainy season should be dried up.
  • When using firewood at extended kitchen of wooden establishments, they have to be checked for possible presence of carpenter ants and must be stored far from ground level with no moist.
  • Regular monitoring and checking of possible entry points on walls and surroundings.
  • The house or entire building should be maintained properly with effective cleaning and sealing of sites prone for ants infestation.
  • Any wood decay must be changed into a new one within the building.
  • Dining hall and kitchen places must always be clean and well attended to after eating and preparation of food.
  • All places indoor and outdoor should be dry and with no decaying wood or wooden furniture system.
  • Old wooden furnitures which are breaking should be replaced and stored in proper places away from the building.

Chemical Management

  • Applying an insecticide into the infested nest within the house or building, carefully following guidelines and instructions at labels.
  • Use sweet or honey-based food baits into breeding or nesting places to trap the ants until they can consume the food mixed with insecticides to get rid of them from the place.
  • Use of perimeter sprays and dust-form insecticides applied to breeding places or tunneling system found to be used as passageway by these ants.
  • Carefully observe what these types of ants are taking when you are using baits to eradicate them.
  • In instances where their presence are still noted, you may add up to further spraying the area or add some more on the baits you used effective for them until the workers in the group can bring the baits to their whole colony.
  • Regular house or building treatment for insecticides on a given schedule.
  • Contact a professional pesticide service provider in your community to fully assist you of your needs. Some pesticides are only effectively applied to your house or building through the aid of a licensed pesticide service provider.

References for the topic CARPENTER ANTS:

  • en.wikipedia.org/
  • www.orkin.com/
  • www.extension.umn.edu/
  • www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/
  • www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/carp.htm
  • lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/carpant004.shtml
  • ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/carpenter-ants

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