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Carpenter Ants

September 18, 2015

Here in South Florida, especially during the rainy season, we are facing the swarming season of the majority of Florida insects and that includes one of the most called about pests in Florida, ants.

The thing about ants is that there are many different kinds of species that live in different types of environments and have very different behaviors. So the treatment for each type of household ant can vary greatly. Treatment options for ants may include: direct application of a spray, spraying the exterior perimeter of the house, granular baiting outside, bait stations and gel baits inside, and crack/crevice treatment inside. We all know about ghost ants and fire ants. We’ve definitely seen big-headed ants and white-footed ant, but we just may have not known their names. But have you seen and heard about carpenter ants? These ants are different in that they are not only a direct nuisance to humans, but also to the structures in which we live. It’s important to inspect your home for carpenter ants and implement the proper treatment if they are present.

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate nests in wood structures. These structures can include, pillars, window frames, wood framing of buildings, wooden playgrounds, wood fences, etc. They are also sometimes referred to as “bull ants” due to their large, bulky frame.

Carpenter ant nests can also be found in the soil beneath objects, in dead branches, or in rotting logs. They are active year-round and are a serious household pest. When they mate, you can usually spot the winged reproductives along the ledges of windows and glass doors.

Here’s our rendition of ‘Cliffs notes’ on carpenter ants:

Description: Their head, thorax, and body are reddish to orange with a black front body section. They are fairly large and range in size from 1/5″ to1/2″ in length. Due to their similarities with termites, professional identification is recommended.

Seasonality: Carpenter ants are active year-round, and may swarm during mating season.

Damage: Carpenter ants do not eat wood but rather excavate it to form galleries for nesting. These ants are very destructive and should always be treated by a professional.

Life Cycle: Carpenter ants undergo a complete metamorphosis because their life cycle starts with ab egg which turns into a larva, then pupa and then lastly they become an adult worker or reproductive.

Behavior: Carpenter ants in Florida are highly attracted to damaged wood. Signs of a carpenter ant infestation are small piles of “sawdust”. This sawdust is produced from their nest excavations.

Feeding: Carpenter ants forage at night, mostly between two hours before sunset to two hours after sunset. Like other ant species, they are attracted to sweets. This means food, juices, and sodas that are left out on counters, or outside are a beacon to them. Also, honey dew and floral nectar on your outdoor plants may be keeping the carpenter ant colonies alive. If this is the case, you may want to treat your ornamentals.

Carpenter ants are in the top 5 ants that are called about in the US. This is because their potential for damaging wooden structures is alarming. The best treatment methods for these destroyers is to use a direct treatment and/or the removal of nesting sites. Be wary of excessive treatment, which can cause ants to take to another location in your home.

The best and most complete way to ensure that all carpenter ants and their nest is gone is with the help of a professional pest control. Here at Nozzle Nolen we have seen some extensive and costly damages that these ants have done. Don’t think that one can of spray or a few baits are gonna stop them. If you think you may have carpenter ants, or if you would like to request a free inspection to get an idea of the scope of pest issues at your home, business or property then contact us today!


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