What are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are the largest ant found in the United States. They can grow to a length of ½” to 5/8″. Most carpenter ants in New Jersey are solid black in color but may have a segment of their body in red or brown. Like all other species of ants, they are social insects. Colonies consist of a Queen (egg layer), a King (egg fertilizer), Winged Males and Females (Future colony Farmers) and Workers (food gatherers and wood destroyers).
Do Carpenter Ants eat wood?
This is the most misunderstood aspect of this insect. Carpenter ants are not termites nor termite-like. Termites actually eat wood. Carpenter ants nest in wood by excavating galleries or tunnels in rotting or sound trees, and in structures, they will readily infest wood, foam insulation, and hollow voids. They prefer to excavate wood damaged by fungus and are often found in conjunction with moisture problems. This excavating trait puts Carpenter ants second only to termites in their destructive capabilities. Carpenter ants cause millions of dollars in structure damage in the Northeast annually.
Where do Carpenter ants originate?
In nature Carpenter ants are found in trees. When areas of forest are cleared for development these ants adopt magnificently. With tree nest sites limited, carpenter ants can now also be found in piles of firewood, landscape ties, under patio blocks, decking, under pool liners, under cement stoops, in tree stumps and soil.
What wood in my home is vulnerable to Carpenter ants damage?
- Plywood roof below the shingles
- Sub flooring on any level
- Structural members such as sill plates & floor Joists
- Wood decks
- Door and window framesStructural framework
- Area where water leaks occur (i.e. bathrooms and kitchens)
Carpenter ants pose a serious threat in your yard too. Many times large trees are hollowed out and weakened by these wood destroyers. It is not uncommon for these weakened trees to fall during the storm. Consider the damage a large tree falling on your home, car, or family member could do.