Carpenter ants live in colonies with strict hierarchical organization. Thus, there are queens, workers, and males, each with different roles and appearances. The queen is the largest insect of the colony, while the workers have a morphology that varies depending on their role. As a result, it is complicated to identify the species of ant that has infested your home by relying only on size.
Development and Behaviours
Carpenter ants only have one queen per colony. Everything starts with the flight of a huge quantity of sexually mature adults that will mate during flight, called “swarming.” After mating, the female that is now the queen loses her wings and looks for an ideal spot to lay her first eggs: a dying tree, a rotting stump, or sometimes inside a building. It is important to know that carpenter ants are not woodborers, they don’t eat wood. Rather, they hollow out places to create a either a main colony or satellite colony (one without a queen).
It takes at least three years for a colony to reach maturity. At that point, it contains at least 2,000 worker ants. The queen begins to produce, at the end of each summer, sexually mature, winged insects destined to start colonies of their own.
Carpenter ants then dig their nests in places ideal for their expansion, such as an insulating urethane panel or a piece of wood whose density has been affected by humidity, making it easier to hollow out places within the latter.
A house may be infested by ants in four ways:
- A queen can arrive in your house and found a new colony
- A colony or part of a colony can migrate as a result of major stress
- Material containing ants, such as firewood is taken into the house
- A satellite nest is formed, without a queen. That is the most frequent cause in Quebec.
- Carefully survey the area to find where the ant nest is.
- Modify the conditions that favour proliferation of carpenter ants: eliminate all rotten or infested wood around the building.
- Fix, if necessary, any problems caused by water infiltration, because it damages wood structures.
- Keep food in sealed containers during infestations.
- If ants come from outside to get food in the building, a seasonal outside treatment could solve the problem. When ants are present in your home, a plan that is environmentally friendly and safe for all inhabitants will be established with you by a V Extermination technician. Contact us now for a free estimate!