Most people are surprised to learn there is a species of ants called carpenter ants. The name might instill images of small ants performing woodworking tasks and building furniture for their colonies. However, these ants can be rather destructive to the wooden structures of your home. Some people even mistake the damage they find for signs of termites.
Carpenter ants are easy to spot, as they are large black ants about the length comparable to the diameter of a penny. Once they establish a colony within the walls of your home, getting rid of them can be difficult. In ideal conditions, the ant queen can live around twenty-five years! During her lifetime she can have millions of offspring, as well as future queens, to establish new colonies nearby.
Carpenter ants make their way into your home through small cracks in the foundation walls, along water and electrical pipes, and through other openings into the home. Typically, ant scouts will explore first before worker ants arrive and start building the colony inside the walls of your house.
This species of ants can also be aggressive if provoked or angered. Most will bite if they feel threatened and inject venom into the skin. Some species inject acid instead, and there is even a species, fortunately only found in Asian countries, that sprays attackers with a toxic sticky substance. In some places around the world, there is even a species that will explode and release toxic substances!
Unlike termites, who essentially eat and digest cellulose (wood), carpenter ants do not. They merely chew through and haul away the wood to build tunnels for their colony. Some of the wood is used to build structures within the colony, but the majority of it simply ends up as discarded particles, which looks much like sawdust.
If you notice black ants inside or around the perimeter of your home, there is a good chance they could be carpenter ants. To find out whether you could have a potential ant problem, please feel free to call MightyMite Termite at 408-377-3761 and request your FREE home pest inspection.