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Guide to Carpenter Ants in Ohio

close up of a carpenter ant

Carpenter ants can damage any type of building by tunneling through wood pieces. They nest in damp or rotten wood. They don’t actually eat the wood they tunnel through; they live on food, insects, and even candy. However, these insects can cause severe damage to your home’s foundation and are difficult to get under control after they infest an area. Here are some things you need to know when it comes to carpenter ants.

  • What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
  • Carpenter Ants vs Termites
  • Where Do Carpenter Ants Live?
  • How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like

Have you ever taken a walk around the neighborhood and noticed those abnormally large black ants that sometimes have wings? Chances are you’ve just bumped into a carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are one of the easier kinds of ants to spot due to their dark color and large bodies.

  • Their sizes range from ¼ to ½ of an inch, making them one big ant to deal with.
  • Their color is typically dark, most common is black.
  • Male and female swarmer carpenter ants will have a set of wings, but the queen and worker ants do not.
  • These ants have a heart-shaped head, rounded thoraxes, and larger abdomens.
  • Like all ants, carpenter ants will have six legs and two antennae. 

Where Do Carpenter Ants Live?

Carpenter ants love moist wood although, in a pinch, they will seek shelter in dry wood. Places like kitchens and bathrooms make a great home for these pests as leaky faucets from sinks and bathrooms provide them with all the moisture they need. They are also known to make homes near poorly sealed window frames and chimneys, as well as by any roof leaks. 

Carpenter ants will bore tunnels through both dry and wet wood, building nests in any exposed wood they can find. Wet or damaged wood is easier for them to chew through, but they can also make a feast of healthy wood.

Carpenter ants are similar to termites when it comes to building nests, but carpenter ants do not eat the wood they bore through. They simply chew it and remove it from their pathways, disposing of it through pre-existing cracks and openings in the surrounding wood.

Carpenter Ants vs Termites

Did you know that carpenter ants can cause more damage than termites? Although carpenter ants do not eat the wood, they will chew wood so that they can create tunnels. You can tell the difference between carpenter ants and termites by looking at their wings, color, waist, and antennae. 

  • Unlike termites, carpenter ants have smaller wings that are proportional to their body. Termites often have longer wings that are equal in size and shape to their body.
  • Carpenter ant workers are also reddish in color, typically black, whereas termite workers are lightly colored and often avoid light.
  • The waist of a carpenter ant is a pinched and narrow waist compared to the termite that has a rectangular waist.
  • Lastly, the termite's antennae are straight and beaded whereas the carpenter ant has bent or “elbowed” antennae. 

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants can be tricky to remove and keep away.

  • The best way to control them is to remove and destroy their nest. Carpenter ants are not just annoying, they are smart. They follow specific scent patterns, so if you can pick up on their behavior, you can easily find the nest.
  • However, be careful when removing carpenter ant nests. When they feel disturbed, they will bite! They can also spray a defensive acid into the bite wound, intensifying your pain.
  • Eliminating any sources of moisture or standing water around your property will also help to deter these pests from being attracted to your home.

Due to the nature of carpenter ant colonies, it’s imperative that treatments reach the center of the colony to be effective. That’s why handling a carpenter ant infestation is better left to the professionals. If you spot a carpenter ant in your home, do not step on it or spray it. While there are ways to get rid of carpenter ants yourself, they can be tricky. Call Epcon Lane, your trusted pest control professional to take care of your carpenter ants today!

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