Tips for Dealing with Carpenter Ants from an Exterminator in Boston
Carpenter ants may gather around your Boston home and sometimes can occur in a large colony called a swarmer. Winged carpenter ants do exist, but they aren’t necessarily any more dangerous than their non-winged counterparts. There are many species of ants that have wings, usually as a means of protection or defense for the non-flying members of the colony. Getting rid of these critters is just as important as eliminating any other kind of pest infestation. Fortunately, these swarmers are fairly simple to handle once you know what you’re up against.
Meet the Carpenter Family: What is a Swarmer?
A colony of carpenter ants can contain as many as 10,000 ants, divided into workers and reproductive individuals that all serve the nest’s queen. Worker ants are responsible for digging tunnels, finding food, defending the colony, and caring for the queen and larvae. To preserve their colonies, most will only send about 10-15% of their worker force out of the nest to seek food. The rest will stay behind and work within the nest as needed.
The swarmer, or winged carpenter ant, is a reproductive member of the colony. These members are released in the early spring to mate and grow the colony. After mating, the males die. Female swarmers are then responsible for mating and then flying to a new location to establish a new colony. The female will build a new nest and take care of the entire first brood on her own.
The queen doesn’t eat during this time. She utilizes stored fat reserves in the body along with wing muscles to nourish herself and feed the young larvae until they are large enough to feed themselves. This first brood consists of sterile females. The queen will produce other types of workers and reproductive colony members. According to research by the Ohio State University Extension, it generally takes a colony 3-4 years before it can produce swarmers for mating purposes.
Winged Carpenter Ants vs. Termites: What to Look For Before Calling an Exterminator
When it comes to pest control, it’s important to know what you are dealing with. It is common for people to see small winged insects and assume that they have a termite problem. Since carpenter ants can also live in wood and similar places as termites, knowing how to distinguish between the two can be critical to eliminating the infestation. Before you even call an exterminator, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Ants have antennae that are bent in an elbow-style fashion. Termites’ antennae are practically straight with only a slight curve.
- Termites and swarmers both have four wings. Termite wings, however, are uniform in size. Ants will have two larger wings in the front and two smaller wings in the back.
- Termite wings are longer. Winged ants look much more proportionate in size, in terms of the wing-to-body ratio. Termites, on the other hand, have wings that are two times their body length.
- Look at their bodies. Ants have distinct segmentation that results in a thin waist. Termites have a broader waist and maintain a more uniform width and shape along the entire body.
Are Swarmers Harder to Exterminate Than Worker Ants?
Many people assume that because of the flying nature of swarmers, they might be harder to track down and eliminate than other ant infestations, but this is not the case. They are susceptible to the same poisons and ant control methods used for non-flying carpenter ants. You can usually get rid of an entire colony of ants with a single extermination remedy.
Keep in mind that once the swarmers leave the nest, they don’t go back. If you are using a bait-style poison to eliminate these pests, they will only pass on the poison to another ant that they mate with before dying. They also won’t be able to lead you back to the nest for full extermination like a trail of worker ants might.
Another thing to remember is that unlike most ant infestations, seeing one doesn’t mean that you are doomed. If you have flying carpenter ants in your home, you may or may not have other ants lurking nearby. They may have followed their colony to find food, or they may just show up on their mission to mate and further the carpenter ant population.
When to Call In The Professionals
Due to the nature of their role in ant colonies, swarmers don’t usually show up in large groups to infest your home. If a colony is in or around your home, you may see more of them coming and going. Unlike the worker ants, though, they are heading out to mate and aren’t just raiding your food supply. They may pass through from time to time, but unless you notice other ants or an excessive number of them, it’s probably nothing too serious.
Of course, these ants could also be the visual indicator that an ant infestation may be present in or around your home. If you have seen more than one or two swarmers in your home, it might be time to call a professional carpenter ant exterminator in Boston.
What an Experienced Carpenter Ant Exterminator Will Do
Professional remedies for ant extermination are plentiful. A trained technician can come in and assess the situation in your home to determine the best course of action. Typically, they will look at:
- Infestation severity: How many ants or colonies are you dealing with?
- Locating the source: Where are the ants coming from?
- Ant/pest type: What type of ants are present in the home?
A qualified carpenter ants exterminator will evaluate all of these elements to determine what type of extermination treatment will be best for your needs. For example, insecticide sprays are ineffective for carpenter ants because they don’t get to the colony. As we mentioned before, only about 10 to 15 percent of the ants are sent out to forage, so spraying and killing them is essentially pointless as you won’t be able to exterminate the entire colony.
Contact AAA Exterminating Company to discuss your ant problems. We are the best carpenter ants exterminator Boston has to offer, with over 80 years in business. Let us help you alleviate your pest problems once and for all with a proactive approach to pest control!