“What are these big, black ants in my home?”
A common inquiry we hear our clients ask, especially in late winter and early spring.
The answer is typically the carpenter ant.
Seeing these ants around your home can mean a few things. It could mean that there could be a colony outdoors that has carpenter ants foraging for food; in fact carpenter ants can forage over 100 yards from their nests to find food. Another option could be that a larger colony has split to form a satellite colony indoors, or it could just mean that you may have a colony based within your home. A good rule to use is if you are only seeing ants indoors and can’t find any outdoors, there’s a good chance the nesting ground is in your home.
Carpenter ants tend to nest in wood that has been softened by decay or moisture. This wood may be a hollowed out tree in your yard, or the nesting ground could be found in your home such as a wall or door void, or could be in a moisture-rich area such as a bathroom. Nesting colonies can cause structural damage within your home as carpenter ants have the ability to make galleries in wood. You may see a sawdust type material around hollowed window holes, these shavings are called frass. You may also see evidence of dead insects. Sometimes if a nest is large enough, it can be heard if inside a wall void.
There are a few different varieties of carpenter ants and they can be dark brown to black, or a red and black in color, and can be anywhere from 1/8”-3/4” in size.
A carpenter ant colony in a structure can live up to 20 years and have as many as 10,000 individuals making up the colony.
Carpenter ants can be difficult to eradicate and many times require professional assistance.
Prevention techniques include clearing out and/or replacing damaged or decayed wood and eliminating sources of moisture.
The pest specialists at Safeway Pest Management are knowledgeable and ready to help with your carpenter or other ant problem. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 in Muskego, 262-354-3444 in Oconomowoc or toll free at 800-956-0800 or visit us on the web at www.safewaypest.net.