Black carpenter ants can be a serious threat to property in our New York service area because these ants tunnel galleries in dead wood. In nature, this isn't too much of a problem. When they tunnel inside the heart rot of dying trees, they help those trees fall to the ground where they can rot and be consumed by other organisms that return the wood of the tree to the soil as nutrients. It is an amazing process—as long as it isn't going on inside your home. But how much damage can carpenter ants really do? Let's take a closer look.
When black carpenter ants attack New York homes, they start with soft, decaying wood or untreated wood. These are preferred habitation for carpenter ants because, like the heart rot of a tree, the material is soft and easy to chew. Unfortunately, carpenter ants aren't limited to only chewing this type of wood. As they grow their colonies, they require more room and it is sometimes necessary to chew galleries into the sound timbers of a home. If left untreated, this tunneling activity can do extensive damage to a home. That is why we strongly recommend that all New York residents learn how to identify black carpenter ants and the warning signs they leave around.
What does a black carpenter ant look like?
There are three ways you can properly identify a black carpenter ant:
- If it is entirely black, it might be a black carpenter ant.
- If it is entirely black and ½ to ⅝ of an inch long, it is most likely a black carpenter ant.
- If it is entirely black and ½ to ⅝ of an inch and there is a single node between its abdomen and thorax (the waist of the ant) then you definitely have a black carpenter ant.
It can be difficult to identify one of these ants without capturing one. We recommend keeping a piece of tape handy, and when you see a black ant crawling around inside your home, dab it with the tape and pick it up. This will provide you with the opportunity to examine it closely for that tiny node.
Other Ways to Detect Carpenter Ants
Black carpenter ants can be hard to detect. They are nocturnal insects that come out at night to gather food and bring it back to their nests. During the day, they are usually hiding in places you can't see them. But there are exceptions. Here are a couple of ways you may see carpenter ants or the damage they're doing, and also a couple of ways to detect carpenter ants when you don't see them.
- If you have a tree near your home that is rotting at the base or you have logs and brush near your home, examining these places can reveal carpenter ant activity. You may see exposed tunnels that look like smooth trenches or you might see black ants crawling around, particularly in the morning or evening.
- When a carpenter ant nest matures, the queen begins to create male and female reproductives. These are winged ants that leave the nest in search of new locations to establish more nests. Winged ants are drawn to light. So you may see them during the day. Unfortunately, they only swarm together for 30 minutes or less. After that, they shed their wings and begin looking for a place to hide. If you see black winged ants inside your New York home, be aware that this is a warning sign of a current and active infestation.
- Carpenter ants don't eat wood. They tunnel through it. Therefore, they have to do something with all the sawdust they create. If you see a fine sawdust material near a wood source, you could have a carpenter ant infestation.
Carpenter ants create tiny holes to push the sawdust out of their tunnels. These are called kickout holes. Along with the sawdust, these holes can give you the evidence you need to determine that you have a carpenter ant infestation.
How to Protect Your New York Home From Carpenter Ants
Whether you're dealing with an active infestation or you'd like to make sure you never have an infestation in your home, Parkway Pest Services can help. We offer carpenter ant extermination as well as ongoing proactive carpenter ant prevention services as part of our residential pest control programs. No home should be without a pest control plan. There are too many ways pests can be a threat to health and property. Get your plan in place today. We can help.