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Numerous carpenter ant species can be found all over the United States, but the black carpenter ant is the most common carpenter ant species in the northeast, and it’s also the most destructive carpenter ant species in the United States. Carpenter ant infestations are more common than termite infestations in many regions of the northeast, including the entire state of Massachusetts. The black carpenter ant adult is easy to recognize due to its unusually large size and jet black exterior. While urban homes can become infested with carpenter ants, homes located in rural mountainous and wooded areas are far more likely to become infested.

Carpenter ants are certainly destructive, but unlike termites, carpenter ants infest and damage structural wood within homes and buildings for nesting purposes rather than for sustenance. Luckily, carpenter ants do not inflict stings, but they can inflict painful bites, and in some cases, the ants will emit formic acid if they become sufficiently distrubed. Carpenter ants feed on both natural and structural wood sources, and one single indoor colony contains several thousand individuals. Infestations are difficult to eradicate, as carpenter ants often establish multiple nests within a structure’s timber-frame. In order for an indoor carpenter ant infestation to take place, the ants must first locate damp structural wood. After establishing a presence within damp wood, the ants can tunnel into sound structural wood sources. This makes homes that contain water leaks or high moisture particularly vulnerable to carpenter ant infestations.

Preventing pipe leaks and the retention of moisture in all areas of a home will likely keep a structure safe from infestation. Sealing cracks and crevices around a home that allow the ants to crawl indoors will also go a long way to prevent infestations. Pest controllers treat carpenter ant infestations by first locating colony openings on the surface of structural wood. Pest controllers then inject dust or liquid insecticides into the hole, and they often drill additional holes to ensure that all ants have been exterminated. Using slow-acting insecticides is now the norm, as these formulations allow the ant pests to live long enough to spread the insecticide to the rest of the colony.

Have you ever found large black ants within your home?