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Category: Pest Rat Control | 20.10.2013
Carpenter ants differ from termites in that they have dark-colored bodies, narrow waists, elbowed (bent) antennae, and - if wings are present - hind wings that are shorter than front wings (figures 4 and 5).
Termites are light-colored, have a broad waist, have straight antennae and, if present, wings are of equal length (figure 6 and 7). Parent carpenter ant colonies sometimes establish one or more satellite nests in nearby indoor or outdoor sites. Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels for their nest.
Finding one to several winged queens (figures 4 and 5) does not automatically mean a nest is present indoors. In almost all cases, carpenter ants seen indoors during winter in the upper Midwest are an indication that there is an inside nest. It is also possible for a carpenter ant nest to exist in a house during winter but not be noticed. An important method for preventing carpenter ant problems indoors is to eliminate high moisture conditions that are attractive to them. The nest may be located by careful observations of worker ants, especially between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months when carpenter ants are most active. Other signs that indicate an active nest is nearby include small piles of coarse sawdust or wood shavings (figure 13), or consistent indoor sightings of large numbers of worker ants, i.e.
The best method to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood, and, if they exist, eliminate moisture problems. Sprays on surfaces where ants travel or congregate, such as along baseboards or in holes or cracks in the walls and floors, may reduce the frequency and number of ants you see.
The keys to successful baiting are placement and monitoring; baits cannot be effective if they are not encountered by ants. Often carpenter ant nests found indoors are satellite nests that can be traced back to a parent colony outdoors in trees, stumps, roots, fence posts, landscape timbers, and other wood structures. When this is not practical, and carpenter ants have been discovered entering your home from outdoor nests, having a professional apply a treatment of a residual insecticide around the building's exterior helps keep them out of your home. Spray the product in a band, covering the foundation and under the lower edge of the siding to help keep ants from coming inside.

Carpenter ants nest in trees in one of two situations: 1) in rotted, decayed wood or 2) in the center heartwood section of the tree. Control of carpenter ants in trees is warranted if there are indications that ants are entering homes from colonies in trees. Insecticides listed here refer to the names of active ingredients available for carpenter ant control.
Carpenter ant castes - left column winged female (top), winged male - right column - workers of varying sizes. There are several species of carpenter ants that may be found infesting homes and other buildings. Carpenter ants are very common and are frequently seen in the open, especially after sunset. It is important to try to determine whether the ants are coming from an outdoor primary nests or an indoor area, although this can be difficult. Finding large numbers of winged ants indoors is a sure sign that an indoor nest exists and may give the approximate location of the colony. To follow carpenter ants without startling them, use a flashlight with a red film over the lens—ants cannot see red light. During spring, carpenter ants are particularly attracted to protein sources, such as tuna packed in water. However, they are not usually effective in eliminating a nest because 1) the ants carry very little insecticide back to their nests and 2) most ants forage outside and do not come in contact with the insecticides.
Trim branches that overhang buildings or electrical wiring to avoid giving carpenter ants easy access to your home. Some ants, including carpenter ants, have different sized workers which help the nest with a range of jobs from food collecting to nest defense. However, they can be distinguished from carpenter ants by the uneven profile of their thorax (figure 3). They avoid light and are rarely seen outside of their colony, except when winged reproductives, called kings and queens, leave a termite colony. Wingless queens (figures 1 and 11) found walking indoors are new queens that have recently shed their wings but are still searching for nesting sites.

Once a carpenter ant nest is treated, try to locate and eliminate the parent nest outdoors (see below), and continue to watch for evidence of an active nest until the following spring. A delayed toxicant is critical because it allows the ants to forage normally for days or even weeks. Control is unnecessary for the tree's health, as the ants are taking advantage of preexisting soft, weak wood to establish their colony. These ants are usually not wood-infesting, so it is important to correctly identify the ants before control is attempted, as effective control strategies vary with different ant species. You may be able to make a more accurate determination based on when you first see carpenter ants. It is common for a home dweller to enter a room early in the morning, turn on the lights, and see ants scurrying for cover. When trying to detect carpenter ants, tap the suspected area and then press an ear to the surface in order to hear any sound. During that time, ants consume or carry the bait and return to the nest to share the bait with the rest of the colony. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats and pet food, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. If you find carpenter ants in your home during late winter or early spring, that suggests the ants are coming from a nest in the building. This allows wood rot to set in, which results in wood decay, giving carpenter ants the opportunity to colonize the tree. On a bright sunny day, ants may be seen walking randomly through different areas of the house.
Carpenter ants use knots, cracks, holes, and old insect tunnels to gain access to these areas. Do not spray or dust other areas of the home, especially where carpenter ants are seen, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the bait.

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