Ants (Carpenter Ants)

What do Carpenter Ants look like?

  • Size: 1/8 to 1/2 inch long; workers (no wings) vary in size.
  • Color: commonly black but some species are red and black, solid red, or brown.
  • One node between the thorax and abdomen.
  • Winged reproductive males and female; wingless workers.

What are the habits of Carpenter Ants

  • In the Eastern U.S., mature colonies can be found with 10-15,000 workers including satellite nests.
  • The developmental stage (egg to adult): about 60 days.
  • In an effort to establish new colonies, they swarm during May through August (in the east); February through June (in the west).
  • Like all species of ants, they are social insects that usually nest in wood.
  • Excavate galleries and tunnels in rotting and sound trees; within structures, readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities.
  • Carpenter ants in north Florida are often found in conjunction with moisture problems.
  • Feed on sweets liquids, honey dew from insects such as aphids, live or dead insects, and meat.
  • Despite their name, carpenter ants do not eat wood.
  • The foraging trails extend up to 300 feet and enter homes through gaps and cracks.
  • Large numbers of winged adults within a home indicates that the nest(s) exists indoors.
  • Workers push frass (wood shavings and pieces of foam insulation) out of the nest through slit-like openings in the surface and this frass may contain fragments of other insects.
  • Carpenter ants can also nest in trees weakened by decay, woodpiles and stumps.

How do you control and get rid of Carpenter Ants?

  • Moisture problems should be eliminated by drying out the wood.  This can make the habitat less suitable for carpenter ant colonies.
  • Overhanging tree limbs which touch the structure, stumps, and firewood should be removed or cut back 8’ from the home or structure.
  • Cracks and crevices should be sealed to prevent carpenter ant entry.
  • The source of the ants, i.e., the nest and satellite nests, should be located.
  • Nests should be treated with a residual spray or dust.
  • Nests in voids should be treated by drilling holes in hollow doors, wall voids, ceiling voids, veneers, etc.
  • Infested wood should be drilled and a dust or liquid formulation should be applied directly into the galleries.
  • Treating worker trails reduces the infestation, but does not eliminate it.
  • Outdoor infestations can be reduced by the application of barrier treatments.
  • Baits are effective and can be used to eliminate the colony.

Innotech Pest Management serves the greater Palm Coast, St. Augustine and Jacksonville Florida regions. Click to schedule an appointment if you need assistance with eliminating Carpenter Ants.