If you’re seeing large black ants in your Long Island home, you’re most likely dealing with a carpenter ant infestation! Here’s everything you need to know about these wood-destroying pests to best protect your home.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Compared to other ant species, like the little black ants that are inevitable in Long Island kitchens this time of year, carpenter ants are significantly larger; worker carpenter ants are usually ⅝-½ inches in length, whereas carpenter ant queens are as large as 1 inch in length. Color-wise, carpenter ants are usually black, red, or some combination of these two colors. They also have visibly strong jaws.
What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?
Carpenter ants eat insects and aphids outside. Inside, carpenter ants eat meats and pet food, as well as sweet stuff like syrup, honey, sugar, and jelly.
While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they hollow wood out to make their nests and tunnels. The ants work to clear sawdust and other debris so their nests and tunnels are smooth. The longer a carpenter ant colony is present in a home, the greater the damage that can be done. Structural wood can be weakened when carpenter ant damage is severe. Fun fact? Carpenter ants may be heard at night. They make a distinctive munching or rustling sound as they make their nests.
What Attracts Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are especially attracted to your home if you have any one of these conducive conditions:
- A leaking roof
- Moisture created by leaking or dripping plumbing
- A damp basement
- Previously water damaged wood
- Leaks around your skylights, sliding doors, windows
- Wood stacked against your home
Signs of Carpenter Ants in the House
There are a few visible signs you may be dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, including:
- Piles of shavings that look like sawdust
- Rustling noises inside walls
- Winged ants emerging from walls, ceilings, cracks, or crevices
- Insect wings that have been shed and left behind near window sills, baseboards, or vents
What Does Carpenter Ant Damage Look Like?
If you have carpenter ant damage, you will see tunnels and galleries carved inside the wood of your home. These tunnels will be smooth as if they have been smoothed down by sandpaper, which is a key differentiator between carpenter ants’ tunnels and termites’ tunnels (which are more jagged). You may also notice wood with dash or dot-like holes in it.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Getting rid of carpenter ants in your home is not a job for your DIY homeowner because carpenter ants can have several satellite nests and thousands of workers. A professional exterminator is necessary to help you to eliminate the carpenter ant colony, as most over-the-counter insecticides will only kill the ants foraging for food, and the colony will continue to destroy wood.
If you suspect a carpenter ant colony in your home or business, please contact Suburban Exterminating at (631) 864-6900 or (516) 864-6900.