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Carpenter Ants: What Are They and How to Get Rid of Them

Carpenter ants are a common type of ant found throughout North America, including Florida. They are one of the most common ants in the Gulf Coast states. Unlike other ant species, carpenter ants can cause serious damage to homes and commercial facilities as they excavate wood damaged by termites or decay. If you’ve ever experienced a carpenter ant infestation, you know how frustrating and expensive it can be to get rid of these pests. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of carpenter ants, including how to identify them, prevent infestations, and eliminate them from your property.

Carpenter Ants

What Are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are large black or reddish-brown ants mistaken for termites. Unlike termites, however, carpenter ants don’t eat wood; they chew through and excavate it to create nests. Carpenter ants typically nest in moist or decaying wood, and they can cause significant damage to structures if left untreated.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Identifying them can be tricky, as they look similar to other ant species. However, there are a few key features to look for. They are larger than most other ant species, with a distinct waist and bent antennae. They also have a smooth, rounded thorax and a segmented abdomen. If you see large black or red ants in or around your home, it’s important to have them identified by a professional.  Major workers have a rounded node on their back that looks like a small horn in the middle of their back.  

Their Life Cycle

They go through a complete metamorphosis, meaning they have four distinct stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The entire process takes several months, depending on environmental conditions.

Signs of an Infestation

If you suspect you have a carpenter ant infestation, there are several signs to look out for:

      • Piles of sawdust or frass (wood shavings) near the nest site

      • Rustling or tapping noises coming from inside walls or ceilings

      • Winged ants (reproductives) emerging from the nest

      • Presence of live ants, especially near moist or decaying wood

    How They Enter Homes

    Carpenter ants can enter your home through cracks and gaps in the foundation, walls, or roof. They can also hitch a ride inside on firewood or other materials. Once inside, they will search for a moist, dark area to create their nest. Common places for carpenter ant nests include attics, crawl spaces, and wall voids. They will typically target areas of a home that are most susceptible to moisture, such as roofs, attics, and crawl spaces. 

    Preventing Carpenter Ant Infestations

    Preventing carpenter ant infestations is key to protecting your home from damage. Here are some tips to keep carpenter ants at bay:

        • Fix leaks and water damage promptly

        • Keep firewood and other woodpiles away from the house

        • Seal cracks and openings around doors and windows

        • Trim back tree branches and shrubs that touch the house

        • Keep food in sealed containers and clean up spills promptly

        • Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent moisture buildup

        • Maintain Preventative Pest Control Treatments from a Licensed Pest Control Company

      What to Do if You Suspect an Infestation

      If you suspect you have an infestation, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent further damage to your home. Contact a pest control company near you that has experience dealing with carpenter ants. Rodent Solutions is the best pest control company near you if you’re located in the Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Bradenton, or Parrish areas, and we would be happy to help.  We can inspect your home, identify the nesting sites, and develop a treatment plan to eliminate the ants quickly.

      Eliminating Carpenter Ants

      Eliminating them can be challenging, especially if the nest is hidden inside walls or other inaccessible areas.  Because they are a damaging ant and not just an annoyance, you need to move quickly and treat them effectively so they don’t continue to expand.  These are prime reasons not to try to handle them yourself.  We recommend always seeking the help of a professional pest control company, such as Rodent Solutions.  

      Professional Carpenter Ant Control

      A professional pest control company will be able to:

          • Conduct a thorough inspection of your home to locate the nest or travel path

          • Develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific situation, as it varies with each situation

          • Apply professional-grade insecticides and baits

          • Monitor the infestation to ensure complete elimination

        Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Carpenter Ants

        Q: Are carpenter ants dangerous? 

        A: They are not dangerous to humans, but they can cause significant damage to structures if left unchecked.

        Q: Can carpenter ants cause structural damage to homes? 

        A: Yes, they can cause serious damage to structures if allowed to tunnel through wood for long periods.

        Q: How can I tell the difference between carpenter ants and termites? 

        A: Carpenter ants have a distinctive heart-shaped head and elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae and a straight waist.

        Q: What should I do if I suspect a carpenter ant infestation? 

        A: Contact a professional exterminator as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home or business.

        Q: Can carpenter ants bite or sting? 

        A: Yes, they can bite but are not known to sting.

        Q: Are carpenter ants more common in certain regions? 

        A: Yes, they are more common in regions

        Carpenter ants can be a serious problem for homeowners. You can protect your home from infestations with the right knowledge and prevention strategies, including bi-monthly pest control service to prevent them from entering the structure in the first place. If you suspect you have a carpenter ant infestation, don’t hesitate to call a professional pest control company near you for help. Our expertise and experience allow us to quickly and effectively eliminate the ants from your property. Contact us today to schedule an inspection. 

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