Do you think you have Carpenter Ant problems? Carpenter ants are big ants that live in many parts of the world including Hampton Roads. They like to build their nests or colonies from dead, damp timber. However, contrary to popular opinion, they do not feed on wood as termites do. They use timber to build their colonies and tunnel through it in their search for new sources of food. This is evidenced by piles of frass, which is the debris that the carpenter ants have hollowed out of typically damp. dead wood. There are over a thousand species of these large, typically black ants, which belong to the genus Camponotus.
Carpenter ants live in colonies and have colonies both indoors and outdoors in damp, decaying or hollow wood. They like to travel through this decaying timber by cutting out galleries or walkways in wood length-ways up the grain in order to create passageways from one part of the nest to another. The parts of a house that are most prone to be of concern to carpenter ants are floor joists, window frames and rafters in the roof. In fact, anywhere where you are liable to have a problem with water ingress. Decks and porches are also obviously at risk.
Carpenter Ant Problems: Exploding Ants
An interesting fact about carpenter ants although not a problem in Hampton Roads is that some species produce inhabitants that can explode in order to eradicate invaders. These so-called exploding ants are found by and large in South East Asia where there are at least nine kinds that can cause their bodies to explode, thus committing suicide. These ants have a huge abdomen which produces a sort of glue which is shot out of the head onto attackers. The exploding ant dies, but all the attackers caught up in this mesh of glue are immobilized as well.
Carpenter Ant Problems: Do You Have Them?
How do you know whether you have carpenter ant problems or not? Well, the best method of distinguishing carpenter ants from other ants is by observing their waists. A carpenter ant has only one node or hump and their thorax or upper body is well-rounded and smooth. Other similar ants have more than one node or an uneven or two-sectioned back. If you are looking at flying ants, then the difference between carpenter ants and termites, with which they are often mixed up, is that carpenter ants have darker-coloured bodies, narrow waists, elbowed or bent antennae and, if they have them, the rear wings are shorter than the front wings. Another factor is that carpenter ants are quite happy to come out and be seen, whereas termites are light-shy, even though carpenter ants are most active between dusk and mid-night and reproductive termites will take to the air during the day time.
Carpenter Ant Problems: Diet
Carpenter ants eat protein and sugar such as other insects, living or dead and spilled honey or sugar. This honey can also be extracted from aphids or greenfly, which is called honeydew. Therefore, if you want to trace carpenter worker ants back to their nest or nests, you have to lay down something like honey and watch the ants take the food back to their nests. This is the first step in destroying colonies of carpenter ants. Calling a qualifed pest control company is your best bet to get the problem handled quickly and safely.