Pesky, Destructive Carpenter Ants

To kick off National Safety Month, which lasts the entire month of June, we spent some time last week talking about all the different ways in which pest control is a safety issue, not just an aesthetic issue. From venomous pests to disease-carrying pests to dangerous pest control products, there are a lot of risk factors associated with pest infestations in a home or business. As part of this, we discussed pests such as termites, carpenter bees and old ash bores that burrow into or eat the wood in your home, weakening its structural integrity and making it dangerous and unstable over time. Another pest that belongs in this group is often overlooked, misidentified and misunderstood; that pest is the carpenter ant.

Carpenter ants are tricky and dangerous pests and can cause a great deal of destruction if they’re not properly identified and exterminated. When people see carpenter ants in or around their home, they typically think one of two things. Many people think that carpenter ants are just another kind of ant. They might see one outside on the deck or wandering around in their home and assume it’s just a larger than usual ant that—while annoying—is just another scavenger looking for stray crumbs to bring back to the nest.

The other thing that people often think is that carpenter ants are not really ants at all, but a type of termite. They might be doing some yard work or fixing up the house and see a carpenter ant crawl out of their siding. Or maybe they notice a few small holes in their home’s wooden siding and see some carpenter ants crawling around nearby. Many people assume that they’re actually strange-looking termites and not ants. Both of these assumptions are incorrect and can lead to misidentification of carpenter ants. And if a carpenter ant infestation is incorrectly identified, it cannot be properly treated.

Trying to eliminate carpenter ants with a termite control system or store-bought ant traps will end up being expensive, frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful. And since these pests have such a propensity for destruction, it’s important to make sure they are properly identified so they can be controlled. Carpenter ants are the giants of the ant world, measuring up to half an inch long and are typically black or reddish-orange. They nest in moist, decaying or hollow wood and their burrowing activities produce wood shavings that can help indicate their presence.

Black Carpenter Ant or Camponotus pennsylvanicus (winged male)
Close up of Black Carpenter Ant or Camponotus pennsylvanicus (winged male) on white background

Unlike termites, they do not eat wood. Carpenter ants simply nest in wood. They primarily eat other, smaller insects, but will also eat human food as well. They are particularly attracted to sweets and discarded meats. They also keep their nests, or tunnels, clean of mud and dirt, unlike termites. Worker carpenter ants have large, visible mandibles (mouthparts) which can produce very painful bites if they are threatened. One of the best ways to prevent a carpenter ant infestation is to frequently refinish or repaint any exposed wood on your home so that it cannot absorb moisture and start to rot.

If you do see any weathered or rotting wood on your home, replace it immediately. Also, make sure any bushes, trees or shrubs around your home are carefully trimmed so they do not come in contact with your home. Remove any dead tree stumps from your property. If you do see an insect you suspect is a carpenter ant, or see tunnels in your home’s structure that you suspect are part of carpenter ant nests, call the ant pros at Emtec Pest Control immediately. We can identify any type of carpenter ant and figure out the right course of treatment to eliminate them before they cause any further damage to your home.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about carpenter ants or general pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa, and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon, and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information. We are on Facebook.

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