The Carpenter Ant

Your Chicagoland Guide on Carpenter Ants

The Breakdown

COLOR

SIZE

LEGS

DANGER/DESTRUCTION RATING

Black

1/4 – 1/2 in

Six

HIGH

The Carpenter Ant

Most carpenter ants nest in dead or hollow trees, but the working ants tend to find homes to invade. When carpenter ants make their way into your house, they will hang out in moist areas such as your windows, doors and porches.

These pests range from dark brown to black and are 1/4″ to 1/2″ long. Their antennas are shaped like elbows and some of the ants are winged – on the winged carpenter ants the front wings are usually longer than the hind wings. Carpenter ants prefer to chomp on dead damp wood although, unlike termites, they do not actually consume the wood.

Signs of an Infestation

Carpenter ants are very dangerous especially when it comes to an infestation. The most obvious sign that you have an infestation is just seeing these pests in your home. Although they may be in your home, this does not necessarily mean they are nesting there – these ants forage for food and water miles away from their nests. If they are infesting your home, you will start seeing wood shavings around windows, decks and anywhere there is wood. You might also hear faint noises as they burrow into wood and create their nests. If you let an infestation get out of hand, it can become severe and the wood structure of your home can become compromised.

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Understanding the Seasons

Weather has a profound effect on pest life cycle. Most pests, rodents and insects breed aggressively during spring and go through periods of hibernation during autumn and winter.

When the weather slowly begins to heat up, pests start to get more active after having stayed dormant over the colder winter months.

  • Birds often start to find mates and start building their nests.
  • Moths which consumer leaves usually become active again.
  • Flies often emerge from their winter hibernation places and start to breed and spread out.
  • Squirrels also spend the winter in hibernation. When spring approaches these creatures start looking for a new home. This is usually the time when they make their way into lofts and other spaces.

Summer is arguably the best season for pests. It is the time when they are in full swing and breed as rapidly as they can. Wasps are one of the most common summer pests followed by flies and rodents. Many a summer picnics and BBQs have been ruined by the ‘home invasion’ of these pests.

  • Wasps build their nesting grounds and lay their eggs during this time. Although the creatures are not directly harmful, they can be very aggressive and territorial at this time of the year, because they’re at their strongest.
  • The number of fleas also multiplies. Since pets spend more time outdoors during summer, they are more likely to bring the pests back indoors with them.
  • Bees are also more active during summer as they go out to gather nectar. Many times, homeowners find a new beehive in their garden and require pest control to take care of it. Because of their sting, bees are more dangerous than some of the other pests and you should call our professional service to get rid of them.
  • Moths and flies usually start to multiply significantly during summer.
  • Ants begin to swarm to find new mates and start new colonies during summer.
  • Cockroaches become very noticeable in the summer, especially in the kitchen and toilets. This is due to the hotter temperatures and stronger smells.
  • Bedbugs are also very active in the summer.

Autumn is the month when things start to get cooler. The number of pests starts to dwindle as they begin to slow down their breeding activities.

  • Wasps start becoming dozy and docile. You may find them buzzing around occasionally as if they are drunk. This is usually the end-time for their life.
  • Spiders in particular are more active at this time of the year.
  • Squirrels will gather their food and start to look for shelter.
  • The second breeding phase for flies begins. These pests remain active during the season.
  • Rodents also become more active. Due to the approaching cold, rodents usually find shelter inside homes in the loft or inside walls.

The coldest months are when pests seek out warmth and shelter. You will find a number of insects especially rodents and lizards make their way inside your home.

  • Spiders come into our homes to escape the web-destroying frosts.
  • Rodents move indoors to escape the cold, increasing infestations.
  • In many cases, homeowners find squirrels nesting in lofts when they go to get their Christmas decorations.

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