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Your first chance to find carpenter ants comes when the worker ants are out for food. Carpenter ants eat other insects, including termites. Also, the ants feed on nectar, sweet things, such as honey, and even known to eat dog food.
So, it’s possible that you might notice one or two worker carpenter ants on scouting missions in your kitchen. That said, there’s plenty of food for the ants outside your home, so you shouldn’t worry that you’ll find a big infestation going on.
Distinguishing carpenter ants from other species is quite straightforward. Carpenter ants are big, measuring up to half-an-inch long. These ants are mostly black, although there are some subspecies that are reddish or brown in colour. Also, worker ants have large mandibles that they use for chewing through wood fibres.
Signs of nest building
Once a nest has been established, you’ll notice small piles of sawdust (frass) appearing underneath the entry holes that lead into the ants’ tunnels. Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do. Instead, they simply chew through the wood and discard it, clearing and polishing the tunnels as they go.
Often, you’ll notice sawdust in your basement, garage, and in other secluded areas of your home. Frass can also be seen stuck to your walls around the tunnel entrances or piled up on surfaces.
Flying ants (swarmers)
Flying ants are seen when you have a mature carpenter ant colony on your property. Swarmers, as flying ants are known, are usually seen appearing on your window panes and windowsills inside and outside your home.
Swarmers are sexually mature ants whose job is to leave the established colony and fly off in search of a new territory.
Signs of carpenter ant damage
If a carpenter ant colony or series of parent and satellite colonies goes undiscovered for a length of time, your first clue to their presence will be when you notice structural problems in your home.
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