Share

Elimination

Getting rid of Black Carpenter Ants can be quite a challenge. To completely eliminate them, you must find the nest and destroy it. Nests can be outside the house or inside. However great the infestation, it is often difficult to locate them. It is strongly recommended you have a technician inspect the premises, particularly if you find ants inside during winter. If this is not possible and you are unable to find the nest, set up a protective perimeter by applying Maheu&Maheu Crawling Insect Killer where the floor meets the wall.

If you only see ants inside during summer, they are probably getting in from outside. You only need concentrate on those areas where the ants circulate. You will also need to spray the nests, any tree trunks, the house foundations, and a 3 m strip of adjacent land with a liquid insecticide such as Maheu&Maheu Rampex .

Actions

  • Spray or treat nests directly and treat the outside perimeter of the house with an insecticide

Prevention

  • Seal the outsides of windows, doors, eaves, chimneys, etc. as completely as possible.
  • Avoid storing wood close to the house
  • Repair water leaks quickly and dry out any wet spots indoors

Description and development

Carpenter Ants are notable for their great size. They possess strong mandibules (jaws), and their color varies according to species (black, black and red, black and brown, etc.). The worker ants are not all the same size, so specimens can vary considerably in length, from 6 to 12 mm. The Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus ) is the most common in Quebec, but other species of varying color and shape are also found.

Black Carpenter Ants are social insects that live in colonies. They have a queen, the only female in the group to have wings at one point in her life and the only one who reproduces. The other females are worker ants who upkeep the nest and forage for food.

At a specific point that varies by species, the winged males and females leave the colony to mate. This is called swarming, a phenomenon that usually occurs among Carpenter Ants toward the end of spring or in early summer on hot, humid days. After copulating, the males die, as they are unable to feed themselves.
After the males die, the fertile females head off to build their nests. Once a queen finds a suitable spot to found a colony, she lays several eggs. The larvae that emerge from these eggs are the nest’s first worker ants. The queen will break off her wings to feed and care for them until there are enough worker ants to take her place and do the work for her. Reproduction, however, remains the queen’s prerogative.

During the first year, the colony comprises a queen, 10 to 20 worker ants, and various immature forms. The nest will only begin attaining maturity after at least two years, at which point the queen will give birth to sexual ants that will mate in a swarming of their own so that the females can found new colonies. Once a colony is fully mature (after three to six years), it will number 2,000 to 3,000 individuals or more. Worker ants can live up to seven years and the queen, from ten to seventeen years.

Habits

These ants can be found inside homes year round, since colonies can take up abode in pieces of damp wood. The ants dig tunnels and chambers to use as a nest. They can also live in wood that has not rotted. But their nests are mostly found outside, particularly in old trees, stumps, and posts. Firewood can be the source of a house’s infestation. The ants are also frequently known to invade verandahs and doorsills, particularly if the wood is damp. They can even damage a house’s structure. Contrary to what some may think, they do not feed on wood, but rather dead insects.

Tips

To avoid Carpenter Ant infestations, there are a few important points to follow. First, remove all rotten wood around the building, be sure you do not bring any infested wood into the house, and do not store firewood for long periods. Also be sure that tree branches do not touch the building structure. As a further measure, keep the building’s gutters clean. To avoid reinfestation, it is also best to replace any wood that has rotted where building components meet, if possible.

The ants you see walking around are worker ants. Their job is to find food and bring it back to the nest. Once a worker ant finds a “feast,” she returns to the nest with her treasure while leaving an odor trail of pheromones to mark the way back. If you watch where ants go when they are carrying food, they will lead you to their nests.

Go to top