Minneapolis MN Ant Control
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in Minnesota. There are several species of carpenter ants that may be found infesting homes and other buildings. Normally workers are black or red and black in color and range in size from 3/8 to 1/2 inch. Winged queen ants may be as large as one inch. However, size is not a reliable characteristic to identify carpenter ants. The workers of one species in Minnesota are no larger than 3/16 inch.
Because the size and color of carpenter ants vary between species and even between individuals within a single colony, these characteristics are not used in identifying carpenter ant infestation. Identification of carpenter ant species can only be made through careful observation of specific physical characteristics.
Ants or Termites?
Carpenter ants differ from termites by having dark-colored bodies, narrow waists, elbowed (bent) antennae, and if present, hind wings shorter than front wings. Carpenter ants are very common and are frequently seen in the open.
Termites are light-colored, have no waist constriction, have straight antennae and, if present, wings are of equal length. Termites are much less common. They avoid light and are rarely seen outside of their colony.
Because winged carpenter ants will fly, you might see them in your house in late winter or spring, and are sometimes confused with termites. Because both insects destroy wood and live in colonies, termites are often incorrectly identified as carpenter ants, and vice versa. It is important to distinguish between the two, since each are controlled by different methods.
As you can see, termites are categorically not the same as ants. It’s worth knowing the differences between them, as termites can often cause considerably more damage to your property than ants can. If you bear the above points in mind, you’ll be better equipped to tell which one you’ve got an infestation of and from there you can decide what you should do next.
Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood. They excavate wood to create tunnels and galleries to provide passageways for movement to and from their nest. Carpenter ants build their nests and live in wood, so chewing away at the wood simply makes room for their nests. They swarm mostly in the spring and can frequently be seen outdoors before they make their way indoors. Swarmer carpenter ants have wings and you’ll notice them mostly near tree stumps. They can also survive for months without eating, so once they are around your property, they can potentially stay around for a long while.
Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels. These areas are clean, i.e. they do not contain sawdust or other debris, and are smooth, with a well sanded appearance.
The damage to wood structures is variable. The longer a colony is present in a structure, the greater the damage that can be done. If structural wood is weakened, carpenter ant damage can be severe.
The potential damage of carpenter ants to a home, building or other structures may depend on the number of nests that are present within one area. Although the damage caused by carpenter ant nests is not as severe as that caused by termites, the longer the infestation remains untreated the more damage can result. For that reason, it is important to locate carpenter ant nests early.
DIY Or Hire A Professional?
Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness: Most do-it-yourself ant control approaches only kill the ants you see. Some truly effective treatments can penetrate and destroy nests to help prevent these pests from returning. Also, home remedies don’t account for the fact that different kinds of ant infestations require different treatments.
If you positively identify a carpenter nest infestation within your home, it is best to contact a Minnesota pest control expert to assist you in getting rid of them permanently. They can also repair any damages they may have caused in a way that the pests will not be able to enter again.