So we’ve been seeing some really big ants wandering about. Turns out that these are Modoc Carpenter Ants and they look a lot like this guy, except that they’re about 3/4″ long. They’re pretty distinctive, just from the size. If you see really big ants wandering about, it’s them. We’ve seen at least a couple inside the house, and several, including flyers, outside.
Our Senske guy told us about the ants. Apparently a lot of them came in on the big winds we had a few days ago and they’re all over the place. Here’s the winged form, which had the misfortune to connect with the stuff that Senske sprayed around the house (for pest control.) It’s about the size of a dime, maybe 3/4″ long if hale and hearty.
These guys like to nest in wood. They have a primary nest, usually near a moist area, and then some to many satellite nests in the area. Your wood frame house can be host to such a nest. They don’t eat the wood, but the do tunnel through it and that includes through the wood structure of the house. What do they eat? It isn’t wood or your socks, it’s small bugs, spiders, millipedes, aphid sap, pet food, and various other items.)
They also like wood piles, dead tress, stumps, probably live trees that have frost damage, and so on. As you might guess, having wood piles next to the house isn’t such a hot idea.
The will eventually build big colonies, but they do not do it quickly. So if you see them about you have time to decide if you have an issue or if they’re just scouts looking for some lunch for the colony. The links below will answer any other questions about these guys.
Here’s some additional info:
- WSU’s Carpenter Ant page - Covers the basics
- WSU’s other carpenter ant page – with more than you ever wanted to know.
- Biology and control (pdf)
- Columbia Pest Control ant page
- Lots of google pics