Carpenter Ants vs. Big Black Ants: Which Do You Have?

the effects of an untreated ant infestationWhen you see ants in your home, you might not be too worried about identifying the species.  You just want them out.  However, ignoring this information could put your property at risk.  Depending on the type, the ants you see may be harmless or they could be ruining the foundations of your home.  Carpenter ants famously pose a threat to wooden structures, but share many similarities with the common, harmful black ants.  Differentiating the two could save your property from extensive damage.

Black Ants

Black ants are ones that you might commonly encounter in your backyard.  They are usually beneficial for your garden but can be a nuisance in your home.  These little guys can be found anywhere in the US, especially in southern California.  Black ants are very small, usually about 1/16th of an inch; so small that it would be difficult to make out any details.  They also have stingers, but these are too small to be harmful to humans.

Black ants are especially common around decaying matter.  This could be wooded areas or piles of rotting lumber.  Black ants can enter your home through cracks in the foundation or gaps under doorways and can be found under woodwork or masonry such as the fireplace.  They are often attracted to discarded food items, such as grease, meat, fruit, or vegetables.

Carpenter Ants

If you are worried about seeing big, black ants crawling around your home, chances are they might be carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are so called because they dig through wood to create their nests. Carpenter ants are larger than black ants, typically about half an inch long. They are also redder in color.

The most noticeable feature of carpenter ants are their large jaws. Their bite can be painful, as they inject a kind of acid into the wound that burns. Isolated carpenter ant bites are not a major health concern, however.

Carpenter ants may also grow wings when it is time to mate in a process called swarming. For this reason, homeowners with infestations have recalled hearing rustling noises behind their walls.

Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but instead deposit wood shavings out of the bored holes. For this reason, you might suspect a carpenter ant infestation if you notice sawdust-like shavings around holes or at the base of wood boards in your home. Carpenter ants tend to go after wood softened by funguses or moisture, so piles of rotting wood in your yard or beams in your home could be vulnerable.

What You Can Do

Finding black ants crawling your home might tip you off to rotten fruit left in the kitchen too long or gaps under doorways. Finding carpenter ants in your home should be cause for more worry, as they could cause serious damage to the wooden structure of your property. If you do see several carpenter ants crawling around, it may be best to call pest control professionals to help eliminate them.  There are a few things you can do yourself to avoid in infestation.

  • Eliminate sources of moisture around your home, including standing water or plumbing leaks.
  • Keep tree branches and potential sources of rotting wood a good distance from the house.
  • Ensure there are no cracks or openings around doors and windows.

 

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different types of pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

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