There are only a few insects that bore into wood.  The carpenter ant is a pest that attacks many homes and businesses.  These little ants love to bore into the wood of buildings and ornamental trees in our yards.  Many wonder how to identify carpenter ants?  They can be black or rad and black, usually 3/8” to 1/2”, and have a waist before the thorax.  

Carpenter ants are wood boring insects.  They are often confused with termites.  Termites do not have a waist and actually consume wood as food.  Carpenter ants do not consume wood for food, they bore into wood to create their nests.  They, unlike the termite have definite segments to their body, with a narrow part, or waist, between each part.  


These ants can vary in size, but they tend to be larger than a regular ant.  The thorax is the middle section that has the legs.  The abdomen is the last section that is large and round.  The petiole is a pointed node between these two sections.  When viewed from the side, their thorax is evenly rounded.  They have one petiole, after the thorax and before the abdomen.  

The dead give away is the single node and rounded thorax.  But usually these little guys are moving quickly an very small.  This means that physically identifying them is difficult at best.  The next step is to see if you can find their nest.  If you are seeing small piles of wood around, this may be where they are nesting.  


These ants bore into wood in order to build galleys, or tunnels to nest in.  As they do, they remove wood and leave it in piles outside of their nest.  Follow ants and they will eventually lead you back to their nest.  These ants require humidity, so they will mostly nest in damp, decaying or wood already damaged by insects.  

There are two different types of nests.  The parent colony houses the queen, workers and many eggs and larvae.  Satellite colonies will have workers, mature larvae and pupa.  Tapping on wood can reveal a hollow sound, indicating a possible nest.  Also, a rustling sound may be heard after tapping.  This is because carpenter ants will use this sound to let other ants know that there is danger.  


The reproductives of this ant species have wings.  The males and females will swarm sometime in early spring.  Many homeowners will find these swarmers and mistake them for termites.  Termites are the same width for the entirety of their body.  Ants are not.  They have definite narrow sections between their body sections. 

Carpenter ants also create sawdust, much like the leftover from sanding with sandpaper.  Termites, on the other hand, will create mud and use it to build tunnels up walls and around structures.  The damage created by carpenter ants is usually not as severe or extensive as termites.  It is often the case that the parent colony will be outside in a stump or log, and then the satellite colony will be housed in some rotting wood in the house.  


Its important to remember that carpenter ants prefer damaged or rotting wood to nest in.  This means that replacing old and rotting wood on your home will help.  Also repairing roofing and plumbing leaks will help as well.  Finding the colony will help, but actually controlling them is the job of an experienced and knowledgable exterminator.  

If you were wondering how to identify carpenter ants, this article should have helped.  If you are in need of an experienced exterminator in the Tulsa, Sand Springs, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, Sapulpa or surrounding area, Contact Us.  Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are here to help!

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