Florida Carpenter Ants
Florida Carpenter Ants
Florida Carpenter ants, Camponotus, are one of the most common indoor pests in Florida. They are among the largest ants found in Florida, making them detectable as they forage for food or swarm for new nesting locations. Florida carpenter ants account for about 20% of all ant complaints reported by homeowners every year. Reports are especially high during their swarming season, April through June. Florida carpenter ants are nocturnal migrating pests, with peak hours of activity just before and after sunset. There are over 15 different species of Florida carpenter ants terrorizing the state, as these home invaders have the ability to bite or spray formic acid in order to defend themselves and their colonies.
Florida carpenter ants develop by complete metamorphosis, going through the stages of egg, larva, pupa, and adult worker or reproductive. Workers vary in size, ranging from 5.5 to 11 mm in length; smaller workers are called minors while larger workers are called majors. Winged females can reach up to 20 mm while males are typically much smaller with an evenly convexed thorax. Their head and body are usually a brown to orange color and their lower half is typically black. The antennae of Florida carpenter ants are segmented in to 12 parts, with the terminal segment being slightly elongated and bullet-shaped, and without a club. Florida carpenter ants also characteristically have a circular ring of hair on their abdomen.
Where They Are Commonly Found
Homeowners commonly discover Florida carpenter ants foraging for sweets or moisture, or even new nesting sites. Florida carpenter ants specifically target kitchens and bathrooms, and other rooms that have water leaks from plumbing, doors, and windows. Many times, these pests can be found trailing from an interior nest to an exterior food source. Satellite nests can be established up to 100 feet away from a main nest.
Florida Carpenter Ant
Florida Carpenter Ants Alate (Swarmer)
Florida Carpenter Ants Damage
Contrary to popular belief, common Florida carpenter ants are not wood-eating creatures. Typical Florida carpenter ants search for pre-existing voids or weakened areas to create their nests. Structures that have already been damaged by previous infestations, for example by Florida Termites, are prime destinations for Florida carpenter ants to pickup where the termites left off.
Controlling Florida Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants will trail along wires connected to the house. Trees touching the home become a problem for home owners who have carpenter ants. Moisture prone areas, such as around window frames, door frames, dishwashers or bathrooms, must be addressed.
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