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Carpenter ants differ from termites by having dark-colored bodies, narrow waists, elbowed or bent antennae, and if present, hind wings shorter than front wings. Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects. Indoors, carpenter ants feed on meats, as well as syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweets. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood. They remove wood as they create galleries and tunnels.

 

Carpenter ants nest in moist wood including rotting trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards lying on or buried in the ground. They can also nest in moist or decayed wood inside buildings. Wood decay may be caused by exposure to leaks, condensation, or poor air circulation. Nests have been found behind bathroom tiles; around tubs, sinks, showers, and dishwashers; under roofing, in attic beams, and under subfloor insulation; and in hollow spaces such as doors, curtain rods, and wall voids. Carpenter ants may also nest in foam insulation.

 

Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels. These areas are clean and they do not contain sawdust or other debris, and are smooth, with a well-sanded appearance. It is common to find carpenter ants in homes during spring. You may also see carpenter ant swarms. When carpenter ant nests are indoors, mating swarms become trapped inside. Finding large numbers of winged ants indoors is a sure sign that an indoor nest exists and may give the approximate location of the colony.

 

Finding one to several winged queens does not automatically mean a nest is present indoors. It is more likely the queens have just mated and have entered the home, searching for nesting sites. Wingless queens found walking indoors are new queens that have recently shed their wings but are still searching for nesting sites. They are not an indication of an indoor nest.

 

Workers may become active during winter if the nest receives sufficient warmth from sunlight, mild outdoor temperatures, or from indoor heat. It is not clear whether just a few workers break dormancy or the entire nest becomes active. When ants are active during winter they will forage at night, searching for moisture. Common places to sight them are cabinets, sinks, dishwashers, rolled-up towels, bathroom tubs, sinks, toilet areas, or other places where moisture is abundant. On a bright sunny day, ants may be seen walking randomly through different areas of the house.

 

It is also possible for a carpenter ant nest to exist in a house during winter but not be noticed. If the nest exists at a site that does not receive sufficient indoor heat or sunshine, e.g. a north-facing outside wall, the ants will remain dormant until spring.

 

An important method for preventing carpenter ant problems indoors is to eliminate high moisture conditions that are attractive to them. Also, replace any moisture-damaged wood. Be careful that wood or lumber that is stored in a garage or near the house is kept dry and, if possible, elevated to allow air circulation.

 

Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible. Remove tree and shrub stumps and roots. Trim branches that overhang the home. Prune branches that touch electrical lines or other wires that are connected to the house; carpenter ants can travel from branches to lines and use them like a highway to buildings.

 

The best method to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood, and, if they exist, eliminate moisture problems. Eliminating a carpenter ant nest is a difficult and challenging task. Parameter treatments keep ants out and people inside! We at Bee Busters, Inc. do not believe in spraying your baseboards but rather treat chemically outside unless indoor treatment is needed. Indoor treatment can consist of poking holes in walls as needed or going to the extreme and exposing a nest by cutting the wall open. Also, we may suggest ant bait gel, ant traps or a combination of the two. We openly suggest an ant parameter treatment for any kind of ant problem because it works!

 

Often carpenter ant nests found indoors are satellite nests that can be traced back to a parent colony outdoors in trees, stumps, roots, fence posts, landscape timbers, and other wood structures. When possible, remove wood that contains carpenter ant nests, or destroy the colony. A treatment with a residual insecticide around the building’s exterior helps keep them out of your home.

Carpenter Ants

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There are over 2,500 described species of termites living today with numerous termite species native to the United States. These numerous species are broken down into subterranean termites, damp wood termites, and dry wood termites. The three types differ in colony-building habits and preferred climate. Subterranean termites build large colonies underground, which are composed of elaborate tunnels and chambers. Worker termites then construct protective tunnels made of mud and saliva in order to reach above ground wood. When subterranean termites eat wood, they fill it with soil to help maintain the humidity. If mud tunnels are visible on the walls or foundation of your home, it is highly likely that you are experiencing a subterranean termite infestation. Subterranean termites are found throughout the United State. These insects can have the largest economic impact on homeowners due to their dense distribution.

 

The Eastern Subterranean termite is a social insect, using swarm intelligence to accomplish large-scale tasks. Established infestations can range from 5,000 to millions of insects and are divided into three castes in any given colony. Workers are responsible for food and maintenance while soldiers use their oversized mandibles to protect their colonies. Reproductive termites, known as kings and queens, ensure that colonies grow in population. Unlike some other insect species, reproductive termites mate throughout their lives and males do not die immediately after mating. However, Eastern Subterranean reproductive termites do shed their wings after mating swarms, at which time they go on to found new colonies.

 

Many live in wood, and those are the kind that is most annoying to homeowners. They can also build mounds on the ground (like ants), live in trees or in nests built outside of trees, underground, or on thin poles such as fence posts. It's just the ones that live in wood that will hurt your house, however. Subterranean termites can build their home adjacent to your house and use it as a food source by tunneling into it. Subterranean termites, which are the kind that causes the vast majority of damage to homes, don't just live in wood like people think. What they do is burrow underground, like ants, where they get the moisture they need to survive. They build their colony next to a source of wood for food and then burrow from the earth into the wood, going back and forth between each. To connect these earth and wood burrows, they build termite tubes which are little tunnels of earth running along your house that let them run back and forth between the two. Termites are known for swarming in the spring, summer, and autumn. During the swarm, they send out large numbers of winged, reproductive males and females that will mate, shed their wings and develop new colonies. If you see powder that looks kind of like sawdust around your home, that is a common sign of termites.

 

Warning signs:

Eastern Subterranean Termites

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  • Sawdust-like "powder" near doors, windows, garage

  • Wings left near doors, windows, and garages

  • Tiny holes on any wood surface in or outside of home

  • Paint that has started to bubble on wood surfaces

  • Mud tunnels lining the foundation inside or outside

  • Flying termites inside your house

Termites will eat away at the interior of wood in your home. When it breaks or a hole is opened to the outside, they will try to patch it up. They use dirt as well as their own feces to create a substance to patch these holes, and it kind of looks like mud. When termites are swarming, they fly around and ultimately shed their wings. If termites have gotten into your house or near it after a swarm, you will see big piles of wings. Wings can be near your house either because a swarm has come by, or because your house is infested and the swarm came from inside. Termites can be seen either inside the wood, in which case, they usually look yellow or white, or outside as swarmer’s, in which case they look like flying ants.

 

You should have your home inspected for termites annually. Termites are pretty slow to infest and damage a house, but if you have recently had an infestation, you will want to get your property looked at every 3 to 4 months for a while afterward. Unlike many other pests, termites are something that is usually not a good idea to try to deal with yourself. They are difficult to kill, they often re-infest homes unless treatment is done professionally, and they can infest parts of the home that are difficult to inspect. Do not rely on your own skills, get professional help.

carpenter ant

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants. There are several species of carpenter ants that may be found infesting homes and other buildings. Winged queen ants may be as large as one inch. However, size is not a reliable characteristic to identify carpenter ants. Ants are divided into different castes, i.e. workers, queens, and males. The best method to separate carpenter ants from other ants is by the following characteristics: a waist with one node and a thorax with an evenly rounded upper surface.

termites
  • Yellow jackets are banded yellow, or orange, and black and are commonly mistaken for honey bees. They are social wasps living in colonies containing workers, queens, and males. They can be roughly 2 to ¾-inchs long or longer depending on the variety. There are at least 14 different varieties of yellow jackets in New England

  • Yellow jackets can nest anywhere! They can build on the ground, in a bush, exteriorly on a house, in the eaves, in soffit piece, in a tree, in railroad ties, and the list goes on

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