You’d think, with a good, Midwestern tradesperson and artisan name like ‘Carpenter,’ that carpenter ants would be a good thing. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed from the title, nothing could be further from the truth.
The name comes from certain, but not all, species of Camponotus ants that excavate wood for their nests. We guess calling them digger or driller ants wasn’t as cool and sexy? Another name they’ve picked up, that we kind of like better, is bull or bulldog ants.
The two main types of carpenter ants we see in the Gulf Coast of Florida are the dual colored (red and black) Florida Carpenter Ants and their close cousins, the Tortugas Carpenter Ants. These are some of the largest ants you will ever encounter, making them easy to spot. Some critics disagree with calling these species carpenter ants because they do less excavating and more taking over existing holes. They’ll also inhabit softer woods and even Styrofoam.
Up in the panhandle and moving further north, Black Carpenter Ants are more prevalent and do a lot more damage.
Love is in the Air
One of the things that make Florida carpenter ants stand out from the crowd is the ability of females to fly. Their flight or mating season coincides with our rainy season. And it is not uncommon to see a LOT of flying ants during this time.
Generally speaking, carpenter ants of all varieties tend to stay outdoors, nesting in rotten wood and fallen limbs. However, especially during flying season, enough may get inside to be considered a problem. In fact, in our area, carpenter ants account for approximately 20% of all ant complaints by homeowners.
Considering that that’s compared to the large numbers of crazy ants, fire ants and ghost ants we see, twenty percent is significant.
While Florida and Tortugas carpenter ants aren’t threats to your home’s structural integrity, they also shouldn’t be welcome visitors. Typically, they wander into your home while foraging for food. If you suspect an infestation – especially if you’ve seen some flying ants around, be on the lookout.
Signs of the Crime
If you see rough wood shavings at baseboards and doorjambs, especially mixed with dead ants, you most likely have an issue. Sometimes you can also hear the “rustling” sound they make in hollow doors and around windows as they dig in.
Because carpenter ants are picky eaters, bait and other consumer approaches don’t work well to remove their nests. Be safe and call a professional. Sometimes termite issues can be caught early in this stage too.
The good news is our most popular solution – Green Perimeter Plus – not only takes care of carpenter ant infestations, but also seals the access points in your home that ants and other creepy crawlies use to get in. For more details on the service or to schedule your first appointment with one of our highly trained technicians, just give us a call!