There are quite a few species of insect which are known to destroy wood and cause damage to homes and property. Of course, the most famous are termites, which are plentiful in Florida. There are also carpenter bees, which burrow neat, circular holes in wood to build their nests. However, one pest which can be nearly as costly and destructive as termites in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area is the carpenter ant.
Carpenter ants can be mistaken for termites, especially in their early stages when flying carpenter ants take a nuptial flight to start a new nest. They look a lot like the flying termites who do the same thing, however, there are some key differences between the two insects.
In the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area of Florida, if you have a problem with carpenter ants, termites, carpenter bees or any other pest, make sure to contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office. Our specialists know the difference between different wood-destroying insects and can provide reliable treatments.
What exactly are carpenter ants?
To put it simply, and perhaps a bit obviously, carpenter ants are a species of ant. Ants are social insects who live in colonies. Ants are located all over the world and there’s a wide variety of them. Most species of ant have a strict social structure with a queen and worker ants who tend to the needs of the colony.
Carpenter ants are slightly larger than most household ants in the United States. Most carpenter ants are black in color and grow to between 0.3 to 1 inch in length. They are also social and create nests that can grow quite large, often creating multiple nests in a very close proximity to each other.
Carpenter ants get their name because their preferred place to create their nests is within wood. In the wild, carpenter ants prefer to burrow into tree stumps, fallen trees and other wood found naturally in the wild. However, when it comes to urban areas or residential areas, carpenter ants will create nests within wooden beams, flooring, sideboards, wainscoting, molding and other wooden structures around a home.
Do carpenter ants eat wood?
Since you know carpenter ants burrow into wood, you might think they are like termites and actually consume the wood. Termites need to chew and eat wood to get at the cellulose within which they then bring back to their nests for consumption. However, carpenter ants do not need to actually eat wood.
Carpenter ants burrow into wood to make their nests. They use their powerful mandibles to chew through wood and they create tunnels and chambers within the wooden structure and within those hollowed out areas, they lay eggs, build their nests and tend to their young.
Carpenter ants usually eat parts of dead insects. A group of carpenter ants may find the remains of a deceased insect and break it apart to bring back to their nests. They also will consume the sweet secretions of the insects known as aphids or “honeydew.”
What do carpenter ant nests look like?
If you are able to remove a piece of wood which has been excavated by carpenter ants, you will see a series of chambers and tunnels. The ants leave thing piece of wood to create walls that separate the chambers and tunnels. If you were to look further, you would see the walls of the chambers were smooth, almost as if sandpaper had been used to smooth out the chambers and tunnels.
Wood excavated by carpenter ants may crumble and fall apart in your hands. If there is an active nest within the wood, you can often hear the carpenter ants chewing and crunching on the wood.
How to get rid of carpenter ants in Miami
To get rid of carpenter ants, the best way is to prevent carpenter ants in the first place. You can find any number of suggestions online for getting rid of carpenter ants, but none of them can truly be as effective as calling a professional. This is because carpenter ants may not travel very far to start a new nest and you can end up with multiple nests very close by, creating more damage.
To prevent carpenter ant damage, get rid of the thing they want. They want wood, preferably moist, soft wood to burrow into and create their tunnels, chambers and their nests. Get rid of old tree stumps, fallen logs, wooden structure outdoors and piles of wood up against the house. If you have a fire place and a pile of wood, the carpenter ants can get into that wood and then they can transfer to the wood your home.
Of course, sealing up cracks, holes in screens, holes in siding and making sure doors have sweeps that go all the way to the ground will prevent carpenter ants from getting indoors and finding wood to start chewing and hollowing out inside your home.
Trimming back tree branches and making sure vegetation is not up against the house is crucial. Carpenter ants will gladly chew away the wood of bushes, small trees, shrubs and anything else.
If you have siding on your house, keep an eye on wooden mulch added to gardens up against the home. Try to keep 6 inches between wood parts of your home, including wood siding, away from the soil. Wood siding can suck up moisture from the ground and make it ideal for carpenter ants.
Your local carpenter ant control experts in FL
The moist and humid air in and around Miami, FL, and across the state make it the most ideal home for carpenter ants. It is very difficult to keep the wood dry. Carpenter ant infestations can create tremendous damage it left unchecked, which is why Ehrlich Pest Control can help identify for certain you have carpenter ants and identify where their nests are located. Ehrlich specialists will create a treatment plan to get rid of the ants and offer methods to prevent them from returning.
It all starts with a free property inspection and it moves on from there to discuss treatments and prevention methods. Contact Ehrlich Pest Control today and schedule your visit.