Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
Wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold is a target for carpenter ants. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground. They are generally active at night. The main nest may be outside in decaying trees or branches.
Inside a structure these ants can be found nesting anywhere there has been a leak – even if it has been repaired. Once the ants are eliminated, the wood should be replaced to discourage future infestation.
Color – Ranges from red to black, but the most common found in this region is black in color.
Length – 5/8”
Diet – They mostly feed on other dead or living insects. However, they also love anything from sweet, sugary foods to fat from meat.
Habitat – Carpenter ants prefer wet, damp wood to build their nest. You will often see them around old tree stumps, firewood that is curing outside. However, they can find their way into the home in areas where the wood is wet and damaged by excessive moisture. Some carpenter ants have been known to adapt to drier climates.
Impact – While carpenter ants don’t carry disease, they can do damage to the structure of your home if they are allowed to nest in the wood. The tunnels they borough in the wood can weaken the structure and create a need for very costly repairs in your home.