Perhaps you may have discovered a trail of sawdust on your property and thought you have termites. Most likely, it’s carpenter ants. Instead of actually eating wood as termites do, carpenter ants burrow into the wood. As a result, they create structural damage. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t even know if they have carpenter ants. If you suspect you may have an infestation of Omaha carpenter ants, here are some of their physical features and habits, along with a few basic control methods.

Physical Characteristics

It’s important to recognize carpenter ants.

  • Their most distinguishing features are their slender waist and elbowed antenna. They’re also known for having their front wings longer than their back set of wings.
  • Often, carpenter ants are confused with termites as both these insects love to demolish wood. However, termites have a creamy, light color and a straight antenna. Furthermore, termites differ from carpenter ants as they have a seamless waist and wings of equal length.
  • The queen carpenter ant, which is the longest one, can measure up to 1” long, while males and other females are about ¾” long. In fact, carpenter ants are one of the largest ants in America.
  • Workers ants have long mandibles.
  • Carpenter ants are usually black with red wings, although some species are yellow or red with black wings.

Common Behaviors

  • Unlike most ants that are generally just annoying and build their nests underground, Omaha carpenter ants nest in above-ground cavities. These areas include walls, roofs and subfloors of homes where ants can cause severe damage.
  • Carpenter ants are so-named from the fact that they set up housekeeping in rotting wood.
  • Besides eating other insects, these ants consume foods humans eat, such as meats and sweets.

Finding the Nest

The first step in controlling carpenter ants is to find the nest. Look in areas that contain a lot of moisture, such as rotting damp wood. Hearing rustling noises made by working ants can be another clue. After tapping on a wall where you think the ants may be living, stop and listen for the crackling sounds they make. You could also simply follow the ants to their nest.

Omaha Carpenter Ant Control Methods

After discovering the nest, either remove it or treat it chemically.

  • If you remove the nest, you don’t need to use chemicals.
  • Insecticides, in the forms of dusts, baits, liquids and foams, can be effective.
  • Use baits on ant trails.
  • Dusts and foams are more suited for galleries and voids (colonies inside a hollow area) where the ants nest.
  • Non-repellent insecticides work well around perimeters.
  • Boric acid, which is a powder that can be applied into wall voids, is safe for kids and pets because it’s moderately toxic.
  • You could also capture ants by using a shop vacuum. This is a good idea when carpenter ants are in voids that are accessible instead of inside wood.

Considerations and Warnings

  • To prevent an infestation, don’t allow firewood to accumulate. If you do have piles of firewood, cover them with tarp and move the wood indoors to keep it dry.
  • Get rid of all sources of moisture.
  • Keep tree branches pruned and get rid of stumps and tree roots. Consider that branches touching your house can serve as bridges that allow ants to invade your home, starting an infestation.
  • Any wood that makes contact with a foundation, such as around windows, can pose a threat.
  • Don’t put repellent liquid or granulated insecticides where you’ve placed baits. This is because repellent insecticides will keep the ants away from your baits, defeating your purpose.
  • If you discover an exceptionally large ant inside your house, particularly in fall or spring, there’s a high probability it’s a carpenter ant.

Trying to control insects and pests can be overwhelming for many homeowners. That’s why you need to call the professional exterminators at Miller Pest and Termite Control. Please contact us and learn more about our Omaha carpenter ant control services and our wide range of pest control services for the greater Omaha area.