Carpenter ants 101- part one

Today we’ll be taking a deeper look at the carpenter ants which naturally occur in our area. They include the Florida carpenter ant and the black carpenter ant. Both of these ants are quite common in our range of central Florida which include Marion county, Lake county, Citrus county and Sumter county. We’ve already talked about how carpenters ants can appear in unusual places and how carpenter ants can be a sign of termite activity. Now we’ll take a look at the two species themselves.

Carpenters ants are among the largest ant species that occur naturally in our area. The Florida carpenter ant tends to be more red in color, usually. The head and thorax appear reddish while the abdomen is usually darker, almost black. As the name would imply, the black carpenter ant is black. In my experience you’re most likely to encounter the Florida carpenter ant as it seems the black carpenter ant tends to be more out in wooded areas. Both are nocturnal, but it’s not uncommon to see either during the day. Luckily, neither the black carpenter ant or the Florida carpenter ant sting, but they can inflict a painful bite. Both tend to prefer moisture when preparing their nesting sites. This is easily achieved with the high level of humidity Florida is subjected to each year. Many times people will confuse carpenter ant galleries with termite galleries. The difference between the two are that carpenter ant galleries are not lined with mud as termite galleries usually are. The carpenter ant galleries are also smooth-sided and against the grain. To reiterate what was mentioned in an earlier post, a carpenter ant infestation in a home can be a sign of termite activity as the carpenter ants will readily feed on termites. I’ll also restate that having a carpenter ant infestation is not a guarantee that you have termites invading your structure, but nonetheless we recommenced a post-construction termite treatment with annual inspections to be assured that your home is protected.

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That’s wraps up “part one” of our carpenter ants 101 article. In the next installment of our article we’ll talk about the habits, control and prevention of carpenter ants, so stay tuned for part two!

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