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What Salem Residents Ought To Know About Carpenter Ants


March 16, 2020

Have you noticed an ant in your home that you think might be a carpenter ant? If so, it is good that you're looking for information. Carpenter ants in Oregon can be significant structural pests. If left untreated, they can do a lot of damage to your home over time. Let's take a look at Salem carpenter ants and discuss what you need to know most.

a carpenter ant crawling in its nest

How To Identify A Carpenter Ant In Salem

Oregon is home to the destructive Camponotus species of carpenter ants. You can identify these ants in a few ways.

  • Color: The two most common species of carpenter ant will be black with dark red legs or black with a dark red abdomen.

  • Size: Carpenter ant workers vary in size from ⅜ to ½ inch in length. They are typically the largest ants you'll see in your home. Winged reproductives are even larger. A winged female is around ⅝ of an inch long.

  • Node: At the waist of these ants, you'll find one node. This is a pointy bump between the thorax and the abdomen. Keep in mind that carpenter ants aren't the only ants that have one node.  

  • Habitation: You are most likely to find carpenter ants in dark, moist locations, and climbing around on rotting wood.

Do carpenter ants in Salem eat wood?

No. Carpenter ants do not consume wood; they just tunnel through it. They have a particular fondness for tunneling through, and nesting inside, softwood. But they are not limited to damaging wood that is soft. They have been observed moving from rotting wood to sound timbers.

Why is this important to know? Since they don't eat wood, they have to do something with the sawdust they create. If they're tunneling in your home, they'll make tiny kickout holes and push the sawdust out of their tunnels, along with their feces. You might see this mixture (which is called frass) if you look in dark damp locations. Keep in mind that frass may be pushed out into wall voids or other places you can't see into.

What do carpenter ants eat?

Many believe that they'll know they have a carpenter ant infestation when these ants start getting into their kitchen or pantry foods, but carpenter ants don't prefer to forage in your cabinets for food. Carpenter ants corral insects, like aphids, which produce honeydew. Honeydew is sweet and delicious to a carpenter ant. It is also very nutritious. If you have lots of vegetation around your Salem home, that is probably where these ants are getting their meals.

Why is this important to know? While carpenter ants sometimes contaminate food, it is more likely that, if you have hundreds or thousands of ants inside your walls, you will never know it because they never invade your kitchen or pantry.

Do carpenter ants bite?

Yes. Carpenter ants can bite you if you disturb their nest. They also have the ability to spray formic acid into those little bite wounds. The good news is that carpenter ants don't seek you out to bite you, like a fire ant will.

Why is this important to know? No one wants to be bitten by any kind of pests. If you suspect you have carpenter ants in your walls, you might want to consider having a professional pest control technician come and do an inspection for you.

What To Do About Carpenter Ants

If you find a carpenter ant inside your home, especially winged carpenter ants, you should get a pest control inspection. While it can take years for carpenter ants to significantly damage your home, they may have already had years. Reach out to Kanga Pest Control for a free, no obligation inspection. We'll take a look at your carpenter ant issue and offer guidance on what you can do to protect your property from these and other ant pests.

Tags: home pest control | pest prevention | ants |

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