24-Hour Emergency Pest Control
702-228-4394

Carpenter Ants

Genus: Camponotus

Actual Size: 6-13mm

Characteristics: Ranked among the largest ants in the United States. Carpenter ants are commonly black, but some specific species are brown.

Behavior:

  • One queen. She continuously breeds worker ants.
  • Carpenter ants will build a single colony first, and then expand with satellite colonies.
  • Carpenter ants prefer to nest in damp wood, and will continually excavate tunnels (known as galleries).
  • Outdoors, carpenter ants will nest in woodpiles, railroad ties, and the bases of trees.
  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they prefer sugary substances.

 

Pest Description

Carpenter Ant Behavior

Carpenter ants are larger than most ant species in the Las Vegas and Henderson areas. They are typically black, though they can also be red or brown. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they excavate. When living outdoors, they practice mutualism with aphids, protecting them and then eating the honeydew the aphids produce. When living indoors, carpenter ants prefer sugary substances or solutions.

Carpenter ant colonies are typically slow to grow; each nest only has one queen. A colony is typically established in tree stumps, rotting trees that have been cut down, and even outbuildings like sheds. However, as the colony grows workers and increases in size, scouting ants will search for new nesting sites, to establish satellite colonies. These secondary colonies can be found in residential homes or even commercial buildings. The main colony will continue to communicate with the satellite colony, and workers will travel back and forth on established trails. These pathways are most active at night.

Because the developed parent colony continues to send workers to the satellite colony, the damage to a building can take place quickly. Carpenter ants establish secondary trails, called galleries, within a home. Windowsills, bathroom walls, and porches are prime starting points for carpenter ants because of the potential for damp wood, though their galleries are not limited only to damp wood. Carpenter ants also travel within walls, using the pre-existing spaces for water pipes and electrical lines.

Problems Caused by Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the most destructive pests in the Las Vegas area, and throughout the U.S. Although the presence of carpenter ants in a home is not a definite indication of an infestation, it’s worth calling a professional if frequent sightings occur. The damage caused by carpenter ants is extensive and can occur rapidly, due to their satellite colony structure. These ants can excavate at alarming rates, and the damage can range from infesting gardens and woodpiles, to hollowing out structural beams and wall studs, effectively eroding the structural integrity of a home or business. The presence of little piles of sawdust (known as frass) beneath windows, in corners, or next to exposed beams is a solid indication that an infestation is under way. A consultation should be booked immediately.

Preventing Carpenter Ants

The first step to prevent a carpenter ant infestation is to stop them from gaining entry to a building. Sealing any cracks in the foundation, regular maintenance of porches and wood siding, maintaining seals on windows and doors, and removing any water damaged wood are all basic steps that can prevent an infestation from beginning in the first place. Proper storage of food items is required, as well as a thorough cleaning of all food-related items, including dishes, counters, ovens, and underneath refrigerators. It is very important to prevent carpenter ants from finding a food source.

If carpenter ants are suspected, the best time to investigate their possible trails or activity is at night, when they are most active. Carpenter ants are highly destructive, and once a satellite colony is established, it can be difficult to eliminate with DIY methods.

While carpenter ants prefer damp or decaying wood because excavation is easier, they will excavate any type of wood necessary for their tunnels and secondary nests. With ideal conditions and a large enough system of colonies, carpenter ants can render a building structurally unsound in a small amount of time. It’s best to call a professional as soon as there are indications of carpenter ant activity.

Comprehensive Carpenter Ant Control

Carpenter ants can cause significant damage as they build their nests, either indoors or outdoors. The best way to eliminate and prevent future problems with carpenter ants is to call a professional. At Pest Control Inc, we use a variety of different treatment techniques, including surveillance, baiting, and exclusion solutions. Carpenter ants require regular follow-up inspections to ensure their full removal and continued control.