Minnesota Ant Extermination | Carpenter Ants

Ants look much like termites, and the two are often confused—especially by nervous homeowners. However, ants have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, which termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes their ancestors, bees and wasps.

Ants, like bees, and some wasps, are social insects. They are called social because they form communities and all work together towards the maintenance of the nest.


Unlike us, ants barely use sound or sight to communicate. An ant never disagrees with what it has to do, it follows its own ‘programmed’ rules and signals in the forms of chemical smells, vibrations and touch. This system is perfectly suited to a social community acting as one body aiming for the same goal, colony survival.

If you watch ants for any length of time you will see that they really do communicate with each other and very effectively too. Ants communicate by touching each other with their antennae. Ants also use chemicals called pheromones to leave scent trails for other ants to follow.

Some tap out messages with their heads on the object they’re standing on. The vibrations travel through the object to other ants.

Ants also communicate by stridulating—rubbing one body part against another to make a tiny squeaking sound.

This way to food!

One of the most important ways ants communicate is by giving off pheromones—chemicals that other ants can smell or taste. Scientists have identified more than a dozen different ant pheromones, each with its own message. When an ant finds food, it leaves a trail of a pheromone that says “This way to food!” to its nest mates.

When worker ants pass food to each other, they also pass pheromones that send messages such as how healthy they are or whether there is danger nearby. When injured, an ant releases an alarm pheromone that sends other ants into a panic. Ants emit a pheromone to ask for help with a chore. Another pheromone identifies which colony the ant comes from.

Carpenter Ants

Pavement ant queens (note two-segmented petiole between thorax and abdomen).

If you are from Minnesota, you’ve no doubt met the biggest ant of all…. carpenter ants! In Minnesota, there are two common ants that people see swarming in the spring, carpenter ants and pavement ants.  Carpenter ant queens are typically black and large, about ½ inch long, although some species are smaller and can vary in color. However all carpenter ants have a one segmented node between the thorax and abdomen. Pavement ant queens are about 1/4 – 3/8 inch long, brownish and has a two-segmented node.

Finding a swarm of ants indicates a nest is nearby. However, a swarm, in and of itself, is not necessarily a problem. For the most part, like when they are found in your yard, they are not anything more than a nuisance. Under these circumstances, just ignore them until they go away on their own.

Carpenter ant queen (note one-segmented petiole between thorax and abdomen).

If winged ants are found indoors, then there is a nest inside the home. Correctly identifying the ant species will help determine the best control method to use. Pavement ants nest in the soil under objects, like sidewalks, driveways, stones, and concrete slab construction of homes. When found inside, they are annoying but are not a structural problem. The only necessary control when pavement ant swarmers are inside is to physically remove them, especially if you only see winged ants and not any workers.

Finding winged carpenter ants indoors is another matter. They nest in water damaged wood and can potentially damage homes and businesses. You can be somewhat patient when trying to determine where they are coming from and attempting control but you should not ignore them indefinitely.

 Ant Extermination MN

Carpenter ant damage

In nature, ants are truly remarkable creatures and one of the most successful animals on earth, but in our homes…not so much!

Carpenter ants are large, powerful ants that nest above ground in cavities such as tree stumps and in the walls, subfloors or roofs of our houses where they can cause extensive and expensive damage.  Because ants tend to invite their family, friends and neighbors when they come, they can be a BIG BIG problem for homeowners and businesses alike.

If you could get rid of these pests yourself, the job would be done. Despite all your efforts the bugs are still there and you are still freaked out by them. Their elimination is best done by a professional MN Exterminator! They have the experience and a wider array of products to more effectively control a carpenter ant problem. They can also repair any damages they may have caused in a way that will prevent them from invading your home again.


Pest Removal & Insect Extermination MN
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