Carpenter ants are so-called because they excavate wood to build their nests. They prefer damp wood and their nests can often be found in decks, porches, windows, doors, roof eaves and other wooden structures that are exposed to the elements or in areas where there are leaks.
Although carpenter ants chew through wood to create tunnels for their nests, they do not eat wood, unlike termites. They feed on sources of protein and sugar, including other insects, meat, pet food, plant nectar, fruits and syrup.
How to identify carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are larger than most other ant species. Male carpenter ants are winged and can grow up to 18mm long. Queens also have wings until they start a new nest and can grow up to 20mm long. Adult workers typically measure between 6 and 12 mm.
Carpenter ants have dark bodies, usually red, black or a combination of black and red. They have bent antennae, a single node, and a rounded thorax. Winged ants have two sets of wings, with the rear wings shorter than the front wings.
Seeing ants in your home does not always mean you have an infestation, as carpenter ants will travel far from their nests searching for food. However, if you see large, winged carpenter ants emerging from crevices, ceilings or walls, it is almost a sure sign there is an infestation. You might also hear faint, rustling noises within wooden structures if you have a serious carpenter ant infestation.
How to differentiate carpenter ant damage from termite damage
Carpenter ant damage is sometimes mistaken for termite damage. But there are some things to look for to differentiate between the two.
Termites create tunnels by eating wood. They do so in a messy and disorganized way, as their primary concern is to get nourishment. Termites also leave trails of soil and mud as they eat through wood. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are organized in the way they excavate wood. The tunnels created by carpenter ants are smooth and clean. They will also create window-like holes to expel debris. Outside a carpenter ant nest, you may notice piles of wood shavings (similar to sawdust), dead insects and other debris.
Although carpenter ants are less destructive than termites, they can still cause significant damage to your property, especially if a colony is left undisturbed for years. If you believe you have a carpenter ant infestation, it would be wise to contact a pest control company immediately.
Carpenter ant control in Vancouver
Phantom Pest Control is not your average pest control company. We like to go above and beyond for our clients, and we provide expert service at unbeatable prices.
We focus on delivering long-lasting pest control solutions, and will identity carpenter ant colonies, follow nesting patterns, and employ the necessary treatments to ensure we eradicate the pests. We will also provide tips to help prevent a reinfestation.