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Facts About Ant Swarms

Have You Noticed Swarms Of Insects On Your Property? They Might Be Ants

flying carpenter ant in a long island home

There are several types of ants that can be a nuisance to homeowners on Long Island and throughout New York State, and all of them produce winged reproductives, which are also known as swarmers. When a carpenter ant nest matures, the ant queen begins to produce male and female reproductives that leave the nest in search of an appropriate site to start a new nest. Here are some important facts you should know about ant swarms.

All swarmers are not created equal.

If you are noticing winged insects on your exterior walls or back deck, it is important to identify exactly what kind of insect swarmers you are dealing with. Termites cost U.S. property owners billions of dollars in damage every year. And, of the many ant swarmers you can have visiting your home, it is important to be able to identify winged carpenter ants. When carpenter ants get into a home they can burrow large galleries through support structures and cause decks, porches, sheds, and outbuildings to warp and sag. Here are some ways you can tell these insects apart.

Termites are all black with white wings that stack on top of each other. Though they are insects, they appear to only have two segments, a head and a body. When examining these insects from the top, their bodies make up one third of their size and their wings make up the other two thirds.

Ant swarmers have the three distinct body parts of an ant, with a distinct pinch between the thorax and the abdomen.

Carpenter ant swarmers are black to dark red in color. Of all the ant swarmers you will have crawling around your home, these swarmers will be the largest.

Swarmers are a sign.

When you find swarmers crawling around inside your home, it is important to know that those insects can be a warning sign. Since ant colonies don't produce winged reproductives until they have matured, there is a chance you already have a mature colony inside the walls of your home. Interior swarmers in spring, fall, and winter are almost definitely from an interior nest. But, if you find swarmers inside your home during summer months, there is a slight chance those swarmers found a way in through a door, window, or a crack in your walls, and that no nest exists in your walls.

Swarmers found on exterior walls may also have come from an existing nest already inside the wall voids of your home. That is why it is important to have a professional do a thorough inspection if you find flying insects crawling on exterior walls, especially if you suspect that those swarmers are carpenter ants. Those swarmers are male and female reproductives looking for a site to create a new nest. That means your troubles may be about to double.

How long do ant swarms last?

Ant swarms do not last long, sometimes only staying active for a few hours. Often, swarms come and go without being seen. That is why it is important to recognize the sign that you have had an ant swarm visit your home. After swarmers mate, they shed their wings. If you find insect wings on window sills, ledges, or your back deck, you should have a professional come and do an inspection.

What are swarming carpenter ants looking for?

These ants build their colonies in the soil or in rotted wood. If you have areas where water is collecting near your foundation walls, your home will be more attractive to these ants. To prevent water damage or water accumulation, it is important to make sure your gutters are not obstructed and that they channel water away from your home. These ants are also drawn to yards that have construction materials, wood piles, branches, sticks, and other wooden debris. So, to be safe, it is wise to make sure your yard is clear of these items.

When swarmers appear, it can only mean one thing: those insects are spreading. Learn to recognize what swarmers you have, and protect your home from wood destroying insects. You have a lot invested in your home; keep it safe from destructive pests.

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