The largest ant species in the U.S. is the wood destroying carpenter ant. Easy to spot, carpenter ants are big and black, ranging in size from 1/4 inch to a formidable 1/2 inch long. Using their powerful jaws to tunnel through soft and water-damaged wood, carpenter ants carve large, open galleries into wood beams and boards to house their nests.
Look for Frass
As colonies grow, tunneling expands into undamaged wood. One sign of carpenter ant activity is the presence of “frass,” a sawdust-like by-product of tunneling. Carpenter ant excavations create a honeycomb of hollows that can threaten the structural integrity of Monmouth County homes and Ocean County commercial buildings. If not treated, a carpenter ant infestation can eventually cause structural collapse.
Look for Ants
Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not ingest wood. Omnivores and scavengers that prefer to feed on sweets and proteins, carpenter ants are part of Mother Nature’s clean up crew. In nature they feed primarily on aphid honeydew, other insects and their own dead; but they will also consume nearly anything humans eat. The presence of foraging ants in your kitchen could indicate an infestation.
Look for Swarmers
Carpenter ants live in huge social colonies. In the spring, colonies produce specialized flying reproductives, called “swarmers,” which fly off in mated pairs to establish new colonies. The discovery of a writhing mass of flying ants in gardens or lawn areas near a building indicates a nearby colony. Termites and some other ant species also swarm, so try to capture a few specimens and call Allison Pest Control’s experienced carpenter ant exterminators NJ for accurate identification and professional extermination.