Carpenter Ants vs Regular Ants

Serving Chicago Illinois and Indiana

What carpenter ants might look like in Indiana and Illinois - Anderson Pest Solutions

While the name of the species of ants crawling around in your kitchen might not be your greatest concern upon discovering them, knowing this information can help you decide the proper extermination approach to quickly rid them from your house.

There are thousands of known species of ants in the world, but the vast majority of these aren’t found here in the Midwest. What we do have to deal with, however, is carpenter ants. These pesky bugs burrow into the wooden structures of our homes and can cause lasting damage before we’re even aware that they’re there.

So, how can you tell if the ants in your home are carpenter ants vs regular ants?

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are fairly large compared to other ants; they are usually around ½” in length. Their colors vary from black, to brown, to red, sometimes showing blends of multiple colors. The variety in their appearance leads to a long list of ants mistaken for carpenter ants.

You can also identify carpenter ants by the damage they’ve caused. Carpenter ants dig out nests in decayed wood, and contrary to what many believe, they don’t actually consume the wood that they burrow through, so you might see trails of sawdust and shavings.

Carpenter Ants vs Regular Ants

Figuring out whether you have carpenter ants or sugar ants in your home will help you determine the best plan to eliminate them. Some people fear that the tiny black ants that raid many peoples’ kitchens and trash cans are carpenters, and could end up causing a serious issue. Often referred to as sugar ants or pavement ants, these are the most common ants that we find in our houses in North America.

Sugar ants are usually about ⅛” long, and from a distance can appear very similarly colored to carpenter ants, but more often have a reddish-orange tint. Sugar ants have been given their nickname because of their tendency to covet sugar-rich foods, but any food source consistently left unprotected could become a target.

One way to tell the difference between carpenter ant vs black ant features is by noticing the carpenter ants’ large mandibles. They use these to burrow through wood, but will also bite when provoked. On the other hand, pavement ants do not bite, and while they have a stinger, it is very weak at our scale, sometimes unable to even pierce the skin.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

The prevention and extermination tactics taken against carpenter ants vs regular ants vary due to the scale of potential damage and the habits of the ants themselves. Sugar ants can usually be dealt with by the homeowner by purchasing an ant-killer, eliminating excess moisture, and sealing food, but carpenter ant issues are better left to professionals. Our ant extermination experts here at Anderson Pest Solutions have the necessary experience to swiftly assess and eradicate the carpenter ant colony in your home. Contact us today!

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