Carpenter Ants are large, black insects, 1/4″ to 1″ long, and can be found all over the world. They also commonly infest wooden buildings and structures, and are a widespread nuisance and major cause of structural damage. These insects affect humans by raiding stored food, damaging indoor structures, causing damage to crops, either directly or by aiding sucking pests or because of their stings and bites.
Black carpenter ants are known to forage up to 100 yards in search of food. Workers are most active at night, traveling from their nest to a food source following trails. They do set up chemical (pheromone) trails. They produce crackling sounds that can often be heard near a large nest. A large colony can have thousands of inhabitants. The black carpenter ant does not sting, but the larger workers can administer a sharp bite, which can become further irritated by formic acid, which they produce.
Carpenter ants create homes, called galleries, where they nest and lay their eggs. They are usually found in wood damaged by water, but can nest in drier areas as well. There are over 1,000 species of these ants and they swarm, like bees, in the spring. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood because they can’t digest it. They only create tunnels and nests within it.
When their nests are disturbed, carpenter ants bite in defense. Due to their large size, the bite can be painful and possibly break the skin. The ants also spray a defensive chemical of formic acid, which they can spray into the bite wound, further increasing the pain. They use this ability to fight other insects and ant species when threatened.
The painful bites and the damage they cause to houses and buildings through their nesting is a good reason to have them controlled. Knight Pest Control can help.
The adaptive nature of ant colonies make it nearly impossible to eliminate entire colonies and most pest management practices aim to control local populations and tend to be temporary solutions.
These insects are managed through chemical, biological and physical methods. Chemical treatments use bait which is gathered by ants as food and brought back to the nest where the poison is spread to other colony members.