The most common Carpenter Ant in our area on Long Island is the Black Carpenter Ant. These long-legged, swiftly moving ants are among our largest ants. Foraging workers have large mandibles with which they can bite or give a strong pinch. Workers vary greatly in size from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch long.
Reproductive ants have wings and swarm primarily in the spring. In the home, they are associated with areas that are conducive to moisture problems, such as window frames, door frames, roof lines, etc. They can enter buildings through several avenues, and carpenter ant activity is generally first noted when foraging workers are seen within a structure in early spring.
Ants normally forage more outdoors than indoors and are usually more active at night. However, they commonly move inside in spring as it is still too cool outdoors. Other signs of activity include:
- piles of wood debris (sawdust) or dead ants ejected from the colony;
- swarmers, often trapped in spider webs or dead on window sills; or
- damaged timbers.
These ants enter a state of dormancy during the colder winter months in our area. Colonies located inside, as well as outside, will not freeze to death due to the production of glycerol in their bodies, when the temperature falls below a certain level. It is natures own “anti-freeze.”
They excavate nest galleries in wood. They prefer to nest in wood that has been damaged by termites, water or decay. They do not use wood for food. They are of importance due to the damage they cause to structures, the food they contaminate, and their unsightly and unwanted movement inside and outside of the home. Their nesting can weaken the structural integrity of a building. The damage however is primarily a sign of water damage or wood decay, and the ant galleries rarely extend far beyond this softened wood into the sound wood.
As a leader in carpenter ant removal, Long Island company A&C Pest Management can not only help prevent an ant infestation but also eliminate them. Desiccants powders and dusts have replaced sprays during the last decade, but their greatest limitation is that they can only be applied behind walls and into voids and similar locations.Reducing moisture is always a positive step. Repair any drips or water leaks and try to avoid using a water hose under high pressure to clean an institutional kitchen.Clean up clutter wherever it is found, including paper bags behind and on top of refrigerators, items that fall behind drawers, and cardboard boxes.