Do I have flying carpenter ants?
on Saturday, June 22, 2013 by Terminix
If you’ve seen large winged ants more than ½ inch long in your home, there’s a good chance that they may be flying carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are named such because they make their nests in wood. They will excavate decayed or damaged wood or even structurally sound wood in homes. Carpenter ant control can often be aggravating and many experts consider them on of the more difficult types of ants to treat. So, the first step in figuring out if you actually have these pests in your home is to learn exactly what they are, how to identify them and what attracts them.
What are flying carpenter ants?
Flying carpenter ants are the winged queens and kings produced by a carpenter ant colony that fly out to start new colonies. Sometimes outdoors, these flying ants come together in a swarm so that male and queen carpenter ants from different colonies can find mates. Males die once they've mated; queens shed their wings and search for a place to set up their new home.
How to identify flying carpenter ants
Flying carpenter ants from most species can dwarf those of other types of ants such as fire and pavement ants. They can be black, red and black, yellow-brown or black and brown in color. Queens are large and stocky. Males are slender with long legs and small heads. Flying carpenter ants are often mistaken for flying termites, but they differ from flying termites in the following ways:
- Flying carpenter ants are larger than flying termites
- Flying carpenter ants have three distinct body divisions (head, thorax, abdomen), while flying termites appear to have the head, thorax, and abdomen fused into one elongated shape
- Flying carpenter ants have two pairs of wings, the hind pair smaller and joined to the front pair, especially in flight while flying termites have two pairs of wings equal in size and length
- Carpenter ants have antennae with “elbows,” while termites have shorter, straight antennae
What attracts carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist, rotting wood of decaying logs and trees, but worker ants from outdoor colonies may forage into homes looking for food, moisture, or nesting sites for satellite colonies. They do not eat wood, but instead chew galleries in the wood for nesting galleries. These ants eat sweets and proteins, so spilled food and poorly stored food (including pet food) attracts them. Since carpenter ants are often active at night, you may not see them unless you are specifically looking for them.
How do carpenter ants get in?
- Carpenter ants use cracks in foundations for access to wood siding, so seal such crevices
- They can also enter your home via the entry and exit points for plumbing and electrical conduits so be sure to plug these as well
- Tree branches that contact your home offer carpenter ants a “highway” for potential invasion
- Firewood or lumber stacked against your home is an invitation to carpenter ants
Why is professional help necessary to control carpenter ants?
Carpenter ant nests are difficult to find, but the professionals at Terminix® have the experience to locate carpenter ant colonies and their satellite nests to help protect against re-infestation. An initial Pest Evaluation can determine whether you are facing an infestation of carpenter ants or if you need a solution for one of the 27 pests covered by the Terminix Pest Control Plan. Solutions for carpenter ants are available in select areas only and may require an additional inspection.
To determine if the solution you need is included in the Pest Control Plan and covered by the Ultimate Protection® Guarantee—the strongest guarantee in the business—visit Terminix.com or call 1.866.766.7628 today to get a FREE Pest Evaluation.
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