What Do They Look Like?
Read more about carpenter ant identification.
These insects usually build their nests in damp, sound or decaying wood. Homes with moisture issues caused by leaks are prime targets for carpenter ants. The pests will also use tree branches that overhang roofs as a bridge, accessing buildings to find a way inside. Unsealed openings around utility pipes and wires are common entry points.
Cosmetic & Structural DamageWhen carpenter ants build nests, they dig out tunnels in wood, weakening it from the inside. A long-term infestation with multiple colonies in a home often means serious structural damage and unsightly cosmetic damage.
Workers and swarmers (winged ants)are the most likely sign homeowners observe.
What Orkin DoesIn controlling a carpenter ant infestation, it is necessary to first find the nest. Once identified, it can be removed or treated chemically. All moisture conditions that the ants found conducive must be corrected.
If treated early, serious structural damage to houses and buildings can be avoided. However, these ants could damage structures immensely if they continue undiscovered for an extended period.
DIY MethodsDIY control methods often involve incorrect procedures that can allow the colony to rebound when surviving members resume their burrowing and foraging.
Where Do They Live?Carpenter ants reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood.
What Do They Eat?Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but instead remove wood and deposit the debris outside of their nests in small piles.
They will feed on a variety of food people eatparticularly sweets and meats. They will also feed on other insects.
Attraction to MoistureIn natural environments, carpenter ants dwell in both dead and living trees, stumps and rotting logs. However, they may also establish their nests inside of homes and buildings where wood is found, especially where wood has been exposed to severe moisture.
ReproductionQueens lays 9 to 16 eggs the first year and may live up to 25 years. Eggs complete their life cycle in about 6 to 12 weeks.
Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as carpenter ants because they prefer to establish their colonies in galleries excavated from damp or damaged wood. They cut galleries into the wood grain to form their nests and provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. This activity produces wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants which provides clues to nesting locations.
Carpenter ants clean their nesting sites, and their galleries are not lined with mud or moist soil as termite galleries typically are. The workers keep their galleries as smooth as sandpapered wood.
Parent vs. Satellite ColoniesCarpenter ants build two types of nests: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen, her brood, and workers. Satellite colonies consist of workers, older larvae, and pupae. Workers create satellite colonies when the parent colony lacks sufficient space or when there is a suitable supply of food or water. There may be several satellite colonies associated with a parent colony.
Carpenter Ant Identification: How to Identify a Carpenter Ant
What Does a Carpenter Ant Look Like?
Carpenter Ant Size
Life Cycle of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ant Larvae
Carpenter Ant Queens
Finding Carpenter Ant Nests
Carpenter Ant Infestation
Carpenter Ant Bites
Natural Carpenter Ant Pesticide
Red and Black Carpenter Ants
Boric Acid and Carpenter Ants
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