Carpenter Ants

Every summer it seems like some type of ant invades at least one area outside and, much to my chagrin, my kitchen. This year, they are in my basement, and I fear they might be carpenter ants.

From what I’ve learned, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they chew. They simply tunnel through it. Though this doesn’t make me feel better, as the damage they cause can be just as bad as that caused by termites.

Carpenter ants are common in the Inland Northwest, and the most common one in Washington is a variety that has a black body and reddish legs. The carpenter ant queen is pretty big at three-quarters of inch long, while the workers are between one-quarter and one-half inch in length.

According to the Spokane County Extension office, signs of infestation include the sawdust the ants are moving out of the tunnels and a trail leading from the house or area of activity, which is easiest to find at night because that is when carpenter ants work. Should you have carpenter ants, the extension office says controlling carpenter ants after they are established is done with chemicals. Dust formulations are used inside walls and along indoor trails, while liquid chemicals are effective outside on foundations.


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