Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant        Carpenter Ant        Carpenter Ant

Do I have termites or carpenter ants?

Termites and carpenter ants have similar skills and behaviors.  Both live in nests and are organized in castes of workers, soldiers, and queens.  Once a year, queens and males leave their nests to mate and set up new nests, extending their territory. Workers and soldiers collect food, defend the nest and queen, and lead violent attacks against other species.

Swarming termites and flying carpenter ants are often mistaken for each other, particularly in the spring and early summer when both have wings and have emerged in a swarm to mate and establish these new colonies.  Swarmer termites resemble flying black ants instead of their normal white appearance.  Both pests are destructive to wood.  Termites eat wood and carpenter ants excavate wood for their nests and both must be controlled.  It is important to correctly identify the pest for the most effective treatment. 

Flying carpenter ants have elbowed antennae and two pairs of wings, the rear wings are smaller than front wings.  These wings have few, well-defined veins.  Carpenter ants have skinny, pinched waists and long legs.  Swarming termites have straight antennae and while they also have two pairs of wings the wings are the same size and shape.  Swarmer termites have finer veins in their wings, creating a lace-like appearance.  These flying termites have a broad waist and short legs. 

Carpenter ants begin their nests in moist, decayed wood and voids  (trees, rotting logs, and stumps) and later expand into solid, sound wood.  While carpenter ants are important in the balance of nature because they burrow and nest in dead trees and speed the decay of dead wood, when a colony invades and damages the integrity of the wood within your home, they too must be controlled.   Carpenter ants remove wood in the form of a coarse sawdust-like material, which they push from the nest and its galleries. This often results in a cone-shaped pile accumulating just below the nest entrance hole. This pile may include, in addition to the wood fragments, other debris from the nest, including bits of soil, dead ants, parts of insects and remnants of other food they consumed. You may even hear sounds produced as workers chew to remove wood to enlarge the nest.  Carpenter ants enter buildings around door and window frames, eaves, along plumbing and utility lines, and over branches touching the structure.  They forage at night feeding on plants, fruit juices, insects, food debris, meat, cakes, pet foods, and grease. 

If you identify the swarmer as a termite, you should call Enviroguard Pest Solutions at 706-965-9078 immediately to take action against this destructive pest.  Usually you do not see any evidence of the termite destruction until their damage is extensive. Termites enter your home through cracks in the foundation and by other wood-to-soil contact.  They work continuously eating your home's wood and other cellulose material.  Termites "honeycomb" inside wood beams slowly and methodically, typically without breaking through the surface. As a result, their attacks often go undetected for years. Should you spot what you think may be termites, have them checked soon before their damage gets out of control.  Consider the presence of swarmers an early warning sign.

For carpenter ants, your professionals at Enviroguard Pest Solutions will locate and flush nests and may inject insecticide dust into wall voids.  Perimeter treatments also may be applied along with spot treatments at any entry points.  Sprays are used around the base of trees that may harbor nests.  Gel baits may be used on trails where carpenter ants enter and leave buildings.  For termites, the treatment may include a perimeter pesticide application and baited monitoring stations.

Are the carpenter ants harming my trees?

No, typically they are nesting in the dead outer layer of trees and have not entered the healthy inner sapwood of trees.  However, if there are nests in trees, they can easily move to your home and establish nests there.  New insecticides can eliminate these outdoor colonies and protect your home from these wood-destroying insects.