Have you ever gone into your kitchen and seen one or two large black ants hanging around your dog's food dish? Perhaps you have seen one of these ants crawling across your countertop, or seen a few in your bathroom. These large black ants that often come out in singles, or just a few at a time, are most likely carpenter ant scouts, sent out by the colony in search of food sources. And if you are seeing just a few inside your living spaces, this is a very good indication that you have hundreds more, or even thousands, living just out of sight inside the wooden structure of your home.
The Profile Of A Carpenter Ant
These ants are one of the largest of all ant species in the world. While worker ants within a colony may vary in size, adult carpenter ants can be as large as 12 mm in length. Males, as well as winged swarmers, can be up to 18 mm in length and queens can be as large as 20 mm. Some colonies of carpenter ants have been discovered to contain up to 100,000 ants!
Carpenter ants can be distinguished from other ants by the rounded profile of their thorax and the heart shape of their head. They are usually black and they have a single pointed node between their thorax and abdomen. While these ants have the word "carpenter" in their name, this does not mean that they build or fix anything.
Carpenter Ant Destruction
In nature, carpenter ants usually nest in logs, stumps, or hollow trees. In this, their natural habitat, they are a benefit as they aid in the decomposition of dead wood material on the forest floor or any other area where there is dead, rotting wood. The problem is they don't always stay in nature. Carpenter ants don't know the difference between a rotten stump and the moistened wood on a home. So if you are seeing these large black ants, they could be an indication of water damage, softened wood, or rotting wood on your home. And, if these conditions exist, you could be in for an invasion of many moisture-loving pests.
Seldom do carpenter ants tunnel into dry, sound wood in a structure. They prefer moist, softened wood in which to establish their nests. Often workers will invade homes in search of food and if they find conditions that are suitable, will establish nests inside the structure. Carpenter ant infestations can cause significant structural damage in a home. In fact, carpenter ants cost U.S. home and business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Homes and other wooden structures that are built in wooded areas are especially at risk of carpenter ant infestation.
When carpenter ants establish nests within the wood of a home, they will continue to tunnel and carve out galleries to make nests. And the longer they remain in a home, the larger the population will grow. When a colony grows large enough, new colonies will be formed. This is done when ant swarmers are sent out. These are winged reproductives that will find new, suitable locations to begin new colonies. If enough time elapses, and enough ants are allowed to carve into your home, you may begin to experience structural damage, such as windows and doors that do not work properly, and floors or ceilings that begun to warp.
The Climate Of East Texas Is Great For Carpenter Ants
Since carpenter ants (and other destructive pests) thrive in hot humid weather, it is no surprise that they are a problem here in East Texas. And since more humidity means more of a chance of moisture damage on homes and businesses, all the better for these moist wood-loving ants. For this reason, to properly protect your home, year-round pest control is highly recommended.
Sneaky, Easy-To-Miss Pests
Carpenter ants, like termites, are sneaky pests. While termites are certainly more sneaky, carpenter ants can go undetected for years, under the right conditions.
Protect Your Home From Destructive Pests
If you want to know for sure that carpenter ants are not tunneling into the wood of your home, it is wise to partner with a professional pest control company. Here at Innovative Pest Control, we have earned a 5-star rating with our satisfied customers. You don't have to live with secretive pests eating away at your home. Reach out to Innovative today with further questions or to schedule a free inspection.