Carpenter ants are the large black and shiny ants (reddish tinge for Florida species) that destroy your wooden structures, however, they do not eat what you think they do. They do not eat wood as their name would suggest. They actually consume a diverse diet. If you see carpenter ants around or in your home, their nest is nearby and you need help from a pest control service to get rid of them.
Carpenter ants prefer somewhat rotted wood to establish their nests and these nests are called galleries. They form tunneled passageways to and from the galleries. There is generally one “parent” gallery that houses the queen and larvae. And then there are “satellite” colonies that do not have a queen or any larvae. They are nocturnal; however, scouts and foragers are commonly seen during the day. They also prefer to establish nests around water and are most commonly seen in bathrooms and kitchens.
Carpenter ant galleries are commonly found behind dishwashers and other areas that are prone to leaking. They can be in walls that have been damaged from defective flashing or leaky roofs. However, just because you see some of these ants in your home doesn’t mean they have their nest in your home. But it does mean you need to professionally treat the area and repair any leaks to prevent one from forming.
They are most actively intruding during the fall months in preparation for winter and have been known to go 100 yards or more away from the nest to scout out sources of food and water. To get rid of them, you must locate and destroy the parent gallery.
Carpenter Ant Facts
They do not carry any diseases, but their bites are painful. They have massively strong mandibles used for chewing away wood and pack quite the painful punch. They have also been compared to termites in the damage they cause. They do leave behind some sawdust trails, but these are truly sawdust trails and not actual termite poop that looks like sawdust. They also do not cause as much destruction to foundational structures in the home as they seek out already rotting sources or wood. Their galleries also look different than termite galleries.
If you notice any signs such as the sawdust scatterings or the ants themselves, it is recommended to have a trained and licensed pest control specialist come out to your property for a full evaluation.