The black carpenter ant (also known as the Pennsylvania carpenter ant) is the most common ant in the eastern states. Other species include the rust colored or New York carpenter ant, which has a hint of red on the midsection. The carpenter ant varies in size from 1/4” to 5/8” or more in length. These ants are able to withstand cold because they generate glycerol in their bodies whenever the temperature falls below a certain point. These aggressive ants are among the largest ants found invading homes for foraging and nest building purposes. They typically dwell in and excavate wood — from decayed wood to sound wood.
A typical colony may contain approximately 2,500 workers, a single queen, and some reproductive males. It takes three to six years before they produce reproductive ants and swarm. They may invade a home and not be noticed for years, while they chew out an intricate system of galleries. Workers often make slit-like openings through the surface of infested wood and expel their borings, which accumulate beneath in characteristic piles of fibrous sawdust called frass.
The main colony affecting a home may be located inside or outside of the house. Inside the home, numerous satellite colonies will nest in a variety of voids and sites. These may include wall voids, behind dishwashers, in both attics and crawlspaces, under cabinets, in floor joists, ceilings, hollow doors, and many other places. The colony will continue to develop, causing extensive structural damage unless eliminated. If carpenter ants are seen inside a structure, even if only for a 2-3 week period, it is usually an indication that a colony or satellite nest exists within the structure.
Carpenter Ant Treatment
Our carpenter ant treatment consists of interior and exterior control. Baiting, drilling wall voids, and exterior applications are all used. In our opinion and experience, exterior treatments are by far one of the most effective tools in successful carpenter ant treatment. The ants will be foraging to and from the infested structure and must cross the insecticidal barrier. In the process, the active ingredient will adhere to the ants. Once back in the colony, they will infect other ants through feeding and contact. Within several days of application, the activity will change and ants will begin dying. Dead ants are just another food source for them and they will begin feeding on the dead, and contacting the pesticide. Within a month the carpenter ant nest or nests will be eliminated.
Pavement ants are a common problem we see here in Vermont. These ants may infest a home at any time of the year, and are often seen in kitchens around food. Small and reddish brown in color, they are also known as called sand ants. These ants will also infest yards, sidewalks, and driveways, with little sand hills being visible. Interior control consists of baiting as well as crack and crevice treatments. Exterior applications can be done to foundations and infested cracks in the driveway and sidewalk. We cannot treat the lawn, as a lawn care company would have to do that.
Pharaoh ants are 1/16” long and gold in color. These ants may number over 10,000 in a colony, with multiple queens present. Care must be taken in treating, as any pressure exerted upon the colony may force them to split into several separate colonies. Thorough, long-term baiting plans are often the most effective treatment.
There are many other species of ants that we deal with on a regular basis.
As always, feel free to call our office to speak with us or to schedule a detailed inspection and estimate.