Noticed some damage to your wood furniture lately, like small hollow tunnels or very fine powder? Well, that’s probably the work of carpenter ants. Here are a few tips to identify these silent culprits. Read the article to know how to identify carpenter ants.
We take care to secure our homes from the most obvious intruders, with locks and double locks, security cameras, electric fences, and what not! But there are other intruders that can enter your house through the smallest of crevices and cracks, who can cause a lot of damage to your house as well. These intruders I am talking about, are ants. Yes, these little creatures can really wreck your house, specially if they are carpenter ants. These ants love your kitchen and will most likely be found there, and what they love next to your kitchen is the wood in your house. The kitchen they love, because they get their favorite sugary stuff there, and the wood they love because they need it to build their nests. Here are a few tips to help you identify them so that you can take the necessary action to eliminate them from your house.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
There are 18 different species of carpenter ants recorded, and identifying which is which, is no easy task. Carpenter ants have certain preferences when it comes to places, so if you know where to look, then it is not so difficult to identify these ants. Given below are a few pointers which will help you out in case you are confused.
Carpenter ants have a preference for wood, specially wood that is water damaged or rotting, since it is easier to drill or burrow through it. So anywhere there is rotting wood, maybe in your backyard, or if water is seeping into your house and affecting your wood furniture, then that is where they will be. There is also a very good chance that you will find them in the kitchen.
Carpenter ants can be identified by the following physical attributes.
They have larger bodies as compared to termites. They are quite big in size, but the size can vary for each individual ant. They can be anywhere from 2 to 22 millimeters in size (length).
They are usually black, but the colors can vary from red and black to red, black, brown and sometimes even orange. Black carpenter ants are the most commonly found variety, and they have a black head and body and a dark or reddish brown thorax.
Their body that is divided into three parts. The head, thorax, and the abdomen. There is a slight pinching/ constriction between the thorax and the abdomen. The thorax is round and smooth.
These ants have two sets of wings. The back wings are smaller and narrower than the ones in the front.
Legs and Waist
Carpenter ants have 6 legs. The first set which is closest to the head faces forward, while the remaining two sets are turned backwards. A node present between the thorax and the abdomen qualifies as a waist. This is a very tiny node, which means that these ants have a really narrow waist.
The antennae of carpenter ants are bent or elbowed, and not straight like the termite’s, which is a distinguishing point between them.
These ants have a circle of hair around their abdomen, which distinguishes them from termites.
Carpenter ants are very skilled workers, and if you see the creatures but cannot figure out whether they are termites or carpenter ants, then a sure way to tell, is by looking at the carving they have done in the wood. They carve tunnels into the wood, and these tunnels look like they have been polished with sandpaper, they are that fine. Although they may leave a fine whitish powder, it is not in enough quantities so as to be easily noticed. Also, carpenter ants will not go near good, dry wood. They always prefer moist and damaged wood to work with.
The above pointers will make it easy for you if you don’t know how to identify carpenter ants. These ants can burrow in wood at an alarming speed, and once they find a way into your house, then it is really difficult to get rid of them. One sure way of getting rid of them is by destroying their queen, who never ventures out, which makes this solution pretty redundant. So instead of having to get rid of them, it is better if you prevent them from gaining entry into your house in the first place.
To keep carpenter ants away, seal all the cracks in and around your house – in bathrooms, the kitchen, and patios, keep your yard free of wet and soggy wood planks and logs, make sure that your furniture is not suffering from moisture during the monsoons, etc., and you will be able to prevent an infestation.