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There exists more than one thousand carpenter ant species worldwide, 60 of which reside in the United States and Canada. Most carpenter ant species dwell in forested regions where they create nests within dead and moist wood. Carpenter ants are one of the most destructive insect pests in the northeast US. This is largely due to the fact that the most destructive carpenter ant pest species, the black carpenter ant, is abundant within the region, especially in Massachusetts.

While the state of Massachusetts is home to eight carpenter ant species, only three are considered pests to structures. These carpenter ant pests include the nearctic carpenter ant, (Camponotus nearcticus), the Camponotus noveboracensis, and as already mentioned, the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). Individual carpenter ants often invade homes in search of sweet tasting foods, but infestations are typically caused by nearby nests located within residential yards. In some cases, carpenter ants establish nests within a home or building’s structural wood, and it is not uncommon for pest control professionals to locate multiple nests within one structure. Just like any other ant species, carpenter ants indulge in seasonal swarming flights in order to establish new colonies.

Carpenter ant swarms can enter homes and buildings from nearby outdoor nests, but in most cases, indoor swarms originate from a nest hidden within a structure. On warm days, winged carpenter ants may emerge from an indoor nest in order to access the outdoors, but unfortunately for the ants and the affected homeowners, the ant’s poor flying abilities and short lifespan prevent them from escaping a home. An indoor carpenter ant swarm suggests that the indoor nests is at least three years old and consists of 3,000 workers. Yard trees with branches that make contact with or hover over a house’s roof provide carpenter ants with an easy method of accessing homes. Since carpenter ants are attracted to wood with a moisture level of at least 15 percent, homes with leaky pipes or improper gutter drainage are vulnerable to infestation. Nests are often found infesting damp wood below dishwashers, sinks and bathtubs.

Did you know that more than one carpenter ant pests species dwells within Massachusetts?