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Beware of Carpenter Ants

We all know that ants are a very common pest in and around households.  We also know that termites are the greatly feared, wood-destroying pests that plague homes.  However, the carpenter ant is a bit of a hybrid (not biologically) of these two pests. Carpenter ants can be found throughout the United States and, like the termite, can cause significant damage to wooden structures.  Though there are many different species of carpenter ants, the black carpenter ant is arguably the most common in this country.

These pests build their nests in wood, creating tunneled galleries through the structure in order to create a living space.  While termites consume wood, carpenter ants simply discard it, leaving behind sawdust like material known as frass.  If you discover frass around wooden areas of your home, you may have a carpenter ant infestation.  These ants prefer damp, rotting wood.  However, sometimes they will even expand into perfectly healthy wood if they need more nesting space.

The physical appearance of carpenter ants also has some similarities to termites.  Both species have members of their colonies that have wings.  These are usually the pests that we see.  Though they are both a problematic pest that should be dealt with, it’s important to be able to distinguish which pest you are dealing with.  Termites have two sets of wings that are the same size, while the carpenter ant has one set of wings that is longer than the other.  Additionally, termite’s wings are much larger than the rest of their body and carpenter ants have more proportionately sized wings.  A final distinction is that termite wings fall off very easily.  Therefore, if you see many tiny wings lying around an area of your house, termites are probably the culprit.

Termites seem to claim all the infamy for wood destruction, but carpenter ants can do their fair share too.  If you discover these pests around your home, you should enlist the help of a pest control professional to eliminate them before any more damage can be done.

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