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Signs of Carpenter Ants in Winter

Carpenter Ant Removal

Carpenter ants are one of the main pests that Rochester deals with in the winter.  Rochester Pest Pro is performing commercial and residential treatments for carpenter ants in all of Rochester’s neighborhoods, and we have some facts we want to share about these pests.  It’s important to know the signs so that you can call us before the problem gets worse. 

What is a Carpenter Ant?

Carpenter ants, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, are large, black ants that can get up to ½” long.  We often think of carpenter ants as solitary insects because they are usually seen alone, but carpenter ants also live in colonies like most other kinds of ants.  These are usually small for an ant colony at around 3,000 adults but can grow to 100,000 ants strong.  When a colony moves into the area, they will send out scouts to look for food and do reconnaissance of the area. 

This is usually when humans are alerted of their presence, but unless you know that they’re not acting alone, they’re easy to ignore.  Carpenter ants are cautious and ones other than the scouts tend to be shy.  They will eat your food if they need to, but they prefer to eat other insects, decaying matter, and the honeydew produced by aphids. 

Damage Caused by Carpenter Ants

The biggest threat carpenter ants pose is to our structures that include wood and substances like sheetrock.  Our homes, our businesses, and other wooden structures like scaffolding.  Carpenter ants like to stay for the long haul, and to do this they tunnel into wood.  They don’t eat the wood, they just push it out of the holes, so look for sawdust or powdery substances, especially where the walls meet the floors, as well as in the basement, behind furniture and appliances, garages, outbuildings, and decks.  Damage can take time to show, so have your wooden structures looked at periodically.  Remember, the worst damage comes from what goes unnoticed. 

Carpenter Ant Infestations

You should call us if you see a regular carpenter ant out scouting for food, but if you see a winged ant (they look like small, dark-colored wasps), especially around entry/exit points like windows, call us immediately.  These are sexually mature female carpenter ants being sent away from the colony to found their own colonies, which means that there is a thriving carpenter ant colony in or near your structure and areas may already be unsafe. 

If left untreated, carpenter ants can cause warped floors, bowed walls, stuck doors and windows, and crumbling drywall.  Don’t give your space over to carpenter ants.  For commercial and residential pest control and removal, contact the Pros