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Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States. Adults vary in length from about 1 /4 inch for a minor worker, to 1 /2 inch for a major worker, and up to 7 /16 inch for winged reproductives. Each colony has one functional, wingless queen, 9 /16 inch long.
Workers have large heads and a small thorax while adult swarmers have a smaller head and large thorax. Carpenter ants have a smoothly rounded arched shape to the top of the thorax when viewed from the side and a pedicel between the thorax and abdomen consisting of only one segment or node. They have constricted waists, elbowed antennas and the reproductiveâ€™s forewings are larger than the hindwings, transparent or brownish and not easily removed. Adults are usually black with some species red, brown or yellow occurring on parts of the body and legs.
Carpenter ants are destructive pests of wood throughout New York State. In the forest, these ants are often considered beneficial because they prey on other insects and enhance the decay of stumps and other wood debris. Unfortunately, however, given favorable conditions, they also attack wood in service and the interiors of living trees.
Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects. They are also very attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Aphids and scales feed on trees, shrubs, and other plants. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels.
Worker Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants normally construct their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts and landscaping timbers. They prefer to nest in wood that is moist and rotting or that has been hollowed out by decay or by other wood-destroying organisms. Carpenter ants remove wood in the form of a coarse sawdust-like material, which they push from the nest. This often results in a cone-shaped pile accumulating just below the nest entrance hole.
This pile may include other debris from the nest, including bits of soil, dead ants, insect parts and other food remnants. They cut galleries along the grain of the wood, preferring the softer spring grain. They leave the harder summer grain, which serves as walls separating the tunnels. They cut openings in these walls to allow access between tunnels. Carpenter ants keep their galleries clean; the tunnels look smooth as if sanded.
Carpenter ants is that they will establish satellite nests in structural wood. This can cause serious damage. They will establish these nests in areas such as the roof trim, siding, rafters, joists, sheathing, decks, porches, steps, sills, subflooring, doors and window frames. They may also establish nests inside hollow areas, like hollow doors or small voids produced during construction. Most often, they establish nests in areas of the structure where the wood is moist or has been damaged by moisture. They can also move from decaying portions of the wood into sound lumber in the process of enlarging the nest
Carpenter Ant Life Cycle Mating takes place in flight during late spring and early summer when winged males and females leave an old colony. The male dies soon after mating and the female, called the queen, locates a nesting place in wood. She then excavates a small chamber in which she secludes herself and lays her first eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the queen nourishes the larvae until they are fully developed. The larvae enter a pupal period within a tan-colored cocoon before becoming adults. Development from egg to adult takes about three months, depending on temperature conditions, during the warmer part of the year. First-year broods are small, sometimes consisting of only 10 to 20 ants. In following years, colonies often increase to 2,000 to 3,000 ants. It is from these large colonies that winged males and females swarm, mate and start new broods.
Prevention: Use construction which permits wood to shed water quickly and to dry easily.Separate wood from concrete or masonry with a waterproofing compound, such as coal tar or asphalt.Provide adequate ventilation in damp areas. Inspect regularly to detect and repair leaks in roofing and siding, flashing around chimneys, skylights and gables.Also check these danger points: wood porches, steps, columns, corner supports, and wood near â€śsweatyâ€ť plumbing leading to laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens where moisture may condense. To prevent carpenter ant attacks in living trees, prune carefully to induce rapid healing. Good growing conditions should be maintained.
Carpenter Ant Control: Carpenter ant colonies in houses may be exterminated by properly applying an insecticide in and around the nest according to label instructions. trim all trees and bushes so branches do not touch the house and correct moisture problems such as leaky roofs and plumbing. Paint and/or seal exposed wood construction before it becomes wet. Replace previously ant-or termite-infested wood, rotted or water-damaged wooden parts of the structure and eliminate wood/soil contacts. Remove dead stumps on the property and store firewood off the ground and away from the structure
Carpenter ant Damage
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