Businesses and homeowners in the Chicago area must deal with a range of pests, including several ant species. Carpenter ants represent one of the most common species types.
While these ants do not carry infectious diseases, they can cause extensive property damage. Below you’ll learn about identification, prevention, and carpenter ant control in the Chicago, IL area.
What Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants represent one of the largest ant species. These insects range in size from 5/16 inch to 1 inch, with the winged queen being the largest. When inspecting your home for carpenter ants, look for the following characteristics:
- Heart-shaped head: Carpenter ants demonstrate a distinct heart-shaped head (with the rounded part connected to the body). At the pointed end of the “heart,” the ants have large mandibles and elbowed antennae.
- Red or black coloration: Carpenter ants may exhibit red or black coloring. Some subspecies are both red and black.
- Rounded thorax: Common garden and fire ants have ridged thoraxes—the portion of the body connected to the head. On carpenter ants, the thorax has a rounded shape.
- Single-segmented pedicle: Ants can have several pedicles, or nodules at the waist. However, carpenter ants only exhibit one such nodule.
Carpenter ants build recessed nests in wood. You may hear them in your walls. You can use a stethoscope or upended glass to hear them more clearly. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, you’ll likely also see ants out in the open each evening and wood shavings near your foundation.
The wood shavings result from the ants’ nesting process. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood. However, the ants hollow out tunnels and galleries. When they push the remains out of the nest, they resemble pencil shavings.
How Do They Enter Your Home?
Most carpenter ant organizations have two types of nests: parent and satellite. Parent nests occur primarily outdoors in the rotting trees or logs around the Chicago, IL area. Carpenter ant control primarily happens indoors, where the satellite nests damage property.
Nests may occur in moist environments or in exposed wood. These locations include:
- Around tubs and showers
- Attics, crawl spaces, and subfloor wood
- Behind tiles
- In hollows and wall voids
How Can You Control an Infestation?
Pest control professionals treat infestations with dust, sprays, or baits. Once you know what kind of pest you have, contact our team in the Chicago, IL area for carpenter ant control.