Ant colonies run like a well-oiled machine. Each member has distinct roles and responsibilities that help maintain the health of the mound’s population. While the workers forage and protect the colony, the queen produces new offspring.
Large and destructive, a carpenter ant colony can wreak havoc on your home and other neighboring wooden structures. If a carpenter ant queen sets up shop around your home, you may have to contend with future damage!
In our article, we’ll explain more about carpenter ant queens and how these pests can facilitate home damage!
Carpenter Ant Damage: What to Look For
While carpenter ants won’t cause as much damage as termites, these pests can still slowly destroy the wood in your home.
Common Areas for Carpenter Ant Damage
Carpenter ants don’t consume the wood they chew through. Instead, these pests tunnel through structures to establish nests.
Because carpenter ants routinely infest water-damaged areas, there are a few places where they’re likely to stay. Carpenter ants can create colonies in:
- Near bathtubs or sinks
- Wooden beams, wall voids, or attic spaces
- Inside doors, window frames, or wooden siding
If you’ve previously had a termite infestation, carpenter ants could enter the abandoned burrows and create colonies within the carved tunnels.
Some carpenter ant workers may inhabit areas away from the queen. Parent colonies reside inside consistently moist or decaying wood, while satellite colonies could be within water-damaged areas in your home.
Signs of Carpenter Ant Damage
If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, keep an eye out for these signs:
- Large black ants
- Winged ants
- Discarded wings
- Piles of sawdust
The first sign of a carpenter ant infestation may be the ants themselves. You’ll never see a carpenter ant queen venturing into your home, but you may see worker ants foraging for food.
Winged ants indicate an extensive infestation within your walls or beneath your floors. A carpenter ant queen will produce winged reproductive members of the colony after a few years of growth.
After finding wood shavings or other physical signs of damage, call a pest expert like proof. pest control to survey your home! Many insects can cause wood damage, so it’s important to figure out which pest is destroying the wood in your home.
Check out this video for an up-close view of carpenter ant damage. If you start to see similar signs within your home, call us today!
What’s the Role of a Carpenter Ant Queen?
After establishing a colony, a carpenter ant queen has one primary function: producing young.
During mating season, winged ants fly from their colonies to meet and breed in the sky. After mating, male carpenter ants die, but female carpenter ants will lose their wings and search for a new area to start a colony.
A new carpenter ant queen typically won’t start a new colony within your home and instead will search for other damp locations in the surrounding area. The queen may decide to nest within hollowed-out trees or decaying logs and will lay eggs shortly after finding a suitable home.
Often living several years, a carpenter ant queen can deliver hundreds or thousands of eggs over her lifetime. As the population grows, she will produce reproductive members that eventually will create similar colonies.
What Else Does the Carpenter Ant Queen Do?
Well, not much. In the insect world, colony-based populations typically operate under a caste system. While the workers care for the nest, the queen steadily produces new eggs.
When first establishing her colony, the queen locates a suitable area and nurtures her young until they grow into adults. Having done all the hard work during their formative years, the queen can kick back and relax for the rest of her life.
Take a look at this video to see the size of a carpenter ant queen in the wild! While a queen’s imposing size may make you uneasy, her worker ants are the real trouble for your home.
Why Do Ant Colonies Require a Queen?
For most ant species, a queen performs the primary reproductive functions for the nest. After initially mating, the queen can routinely lay more eggs each year.
While other organisms require regular mating to reproduce, an ant queen relies on her stores from when she first mated!
Without a queen, an ant colony couldn’t sustain itself. Ants have different lifespans depending on the species, but all queens typically live much longer than workers. A carpenter ant worker may live only a few weeks or months, but a queen can stick around for years!
If a carpenter ant colony loses its queen, it will not have a steady stream of new workers to maintain the nest. The workers won’t die without their queen, but the colony will soon collapse as its numbers dwindle.
A carpenter ant queen doesn’t do much beyond lay eggs, but she plays a vital role in keeping the colony afloat. Without outside interference, a carpenter ant colony can grow to immense numbers, causing significant damage.
How Can I Get Rid of a Carpenter Ant Queen?
Unfortunately, it’s not easy! Carpenter ant queens are buried deep within a nest and surrounded by hundreds of workers. Even if you managed to dig deep within their home, you would have to contend with her angry family members!
Eliminating the queen is a vital component of ant pest control, but you must take care of the rest of the colony. The ants will still wreak havoc for a few weeks without their queen and could cause more damage, too.
Instead of trying to battle a carpenter ant infestation on your own, contact proof. pest control to do it for you! Our highly trained technicians can locate the site of the parent colony housing the carpenter ant queen and track down pesky satellite nests.
Carpenter ants stand no chance against our residential ant control services. Call today to learn more!