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Carpenter ants are not little builders. No, they can be very destructive to the wood in your house and the trees around your property. Many people aren’t aware of what they look like and what kind of damage they can cause. So knowing what to look for and their habits can help you prevent destruction on your property.

Here are some important facts to know about our little not so welcome friends known as carpenter ants:

  • These ants are very common in Minnesota and in midwestern states such as Indiana and Illinois.
  • They can potentially damage homes and other wooden structures (note the carpenter name reference)
  • The best method of controlling carpenter ants is to deliver insecticide into their nest.
  • Controlling carpenter ants can be complicated, always hire a pest control expert.

If you suspect you have carpenter ants, it is important to first identify them.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

  • They have a waist with one node (petiole) and thorax (area behind the head) that is evenly rounded in profile.
  • Workers are black or red and black.
  • Carpenter ant workers of the same species can vary in sizes.
  • Males and Queens are larger than workers and have wings. Queens lose their wings once they start a new nest.
  • Queens may be as large as one inch long.
  • They have oval patterned wings.
  • Large mandibles (jaw-like mechanism used for burrowing and carrying materials).

Beware! Other ants can be mistaken for these destructive insects. These ants have one or two nodes and an uneven thorax. Importantly, they usually do not infest wood.

If you think you have carpenter ants, and don’t want your wood house or structure to be gnawed on by these small but fierce jaws; you need to know how to prevent and fix the situation.

  1. One thing to look for when hunting carpenter ants is the presence of aphids in your garden. These insects feed on sweet honeydew aphids produce.
  2. Another sign to look for is trail and piles of sawdust. Piles of dust can also be evidence of another invasive group of pests known as termites.

The Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

Speaking of termites versus carpenter ants you should observe their differences. For instance, consider the following to determine what the insect you are identifying is.

  • The common ant has a narrow waist, a termite has a straight body and no waist.
  • Ants have four wings of unequal length (front pair longer than the hind wings). Termites also have four wings, twice as long as the body, milk-colored and equal length.
  • Ants are out during the spring, summer or fall. Termites come out in the spring.
  • Also, the extent and damage of carpenter ants determine how many nests are there.

When to Start Your Watch

When do these little destroyers show up? According to Purdue University entomology department, they come out in the spring. They recommend people store food properly, seal cracks and holes, keep tree limbs trimmed over the roof and insecticides applied every week or two. Also watch out for roof leaks, and leaks in general. They are drawn to the moist wood.

Carpenter ants are small but mighty! If you suspect that you have found them around your home, it’s time to be sure! Bug Out Pest Control can identify and exterminate ants of all varieties. Call us at 317-777-5005 or visit our website at www.bugoutnow.net. We are happy to help defeat these unhelpful guests.

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