Carpenter Ants: The Other Wood-Destroying Threat

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The expression “ants in your pants” is an expression used to describe the inability to sit still due to something exciting. However the idea of “ants in your home” brings up less exciting thoughts like pest infestation. There are many different types of ants that live in Southern Louisiana, including the carpenter ant. Let’s go over everything you need to know about this common pest.

Commonly asked questions about carpenter ants

What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter ants are larger ants, and they’re usually black, red or a combination of the two colors. They range from about ½” to ⅝” in size. They have a segmented oval shape, six legs and an antennae. All species of ant – including carpenter ants – have flying ants in their colony.This is because queen ants will create ants with wings for mating when they want to expand their colony.

Do carpenter ants bite?

Carpenter ants can bite, and these bites may be painful because they have strong jaws. Bites may feel like a burning sensation because they inject formic acid into the bite wound. The good news is that this pain does go away on its own, and carpenter ant bites don’t pose a significant health threat. You should treat carpenter ant bites like you would any other wound, and reach out to your doctor if you think you’re having an allergic reaction.

Where do carpenter ants live?

Carpenter ants get their name because they like to nest in wood, the more moist the better! In the home, nests are likely to be found in or near wood dampened by water leaks. (Think areas around bathtubs, poorly sealed window and door frames, roof leaks and sinks.)

When are carpenter ants most active?

Carpenter ants are most active in the springtime when they swarm, and they are most active at night. Up north, colder temperatures in the winter will make most ants dormant, but here in Southern Louisiana, carpenter ants like the year-round humidity and warmth inside your home.

Can carpenter ants damage my home or property?

Carpenter ants can cause damage to your home or property if they aren’t controlled. They like to build nests inside of moist or soft wood. There are three signs that you might have a carpenter ant infestation in your home or property:

  1. Little piles of sawdust or wood shavings
  2. Small, subtle rustling noises inside your walls
  3. If a wood structure sounds hollow when tapped on

Carpenter ants vs termites

In Southern Louisiana, people often confuse carpenter ants and termites. They’re both wood-destroying pests, and they’re active swarmers at the same time each year. But in fact, carpenter ants and termites are very different for a few reasons:

  • Appearance: Carpenter ants are larger than termites and have a different shaped antennae, waist and wings.
  • Behavior: Termites eat the wood in which they nest while carpenter ants dig into wood to make their nests.
  • Visibility: Carpenter ants are sometimes visible in the home, whereas termites are usually only visible when swarming.

Either way, an infestation of carpenter ants or termites can damage your home or business. And don’t worry, a trained pest control professional will know the difference!

How to get rid of carpenter ants

Carpenter ants need water to survive. You can get rid of carpenter ants by eliminating sources of moisture or standing water in and around your home. Use a silicone-based caulk to seal all cracks or little openings around the bottom of doors or around windows in your home to keep them out. Also, trim trees and bushes away from the house to keep them from getting inside. Remember that carpenter ants like to build nests in piles of wood; make sure you store building materials and firewood away from the home.

A local, licensed pest control company can help you come up with a proper course of ant extermination or control, including a plan for how to get rid of carpenter ants. LaJaunie’s Pest Control services Southern Louisiana. Learn more about our pest control services and give us a call at 985-859-7378 for a free estimate.