Carpenter Ants in Central Texas
February 2001

Carpenter ants provoke negative emotions in most people. It is natural to panic whenever these creatures "swarm" inside our homes. Swarming results in the eruption of large numbers of winged ants, usually from around a window sill, who scurry around, fly through the air, and crawl on our walls, floors and ceilings, seemingly ready to attack us and do whatever it is carpenter ants do to people they attack..

.

The carpenter ants shown above (most likely Camponotus rasilis Wheeler) are from a colony that swarmed in Temple, Texas, at a cottage about 45 miles north of Round Rock. This species is possibly the most common house-infesting carpenter ant in Central Texas, and is often found in Round Rock homes. I think of it as a relatively lazy ant, because it prefers to find pre-existing cavities to nest in instead of going to the trouble of making new ones. Despite this basic laziness, it is still particular about the kind of cavity that will suit it. The cavity must be dark, narrowly confined and fairly extensive. This makes the framing around wooden window sills and doorways particularly attractive, especially if the builder used a lot of shims during construction (the shims break up the cavity into a large number of narrow sub-cavities that these ants are fond of) Although the scientific literature suggests that moisture levels are important, I often find this ant nesting in comparatively dry wood, including interior hollow doors built with numerous interior support baffles that produce sub-cavities similar to those around shimmed window sills.  

Fortunately, our fear of carpenter ants is not grounded in fact. These insects don't actually attack people. And even if they did, they would not be able to inflict much injury, since they don't sting and their jaws are designed to pick up small articles of food or debris rather than to bite humans. Still, the sheer number of ants in a typical swarm is scary. Furthermore, certain species of carpenter ants (e.g., C. pennsylvanicus) are reputedly capable of damaging sound wood and, over a period of time, causing structural damage to buildings.

Treatments for carpenter ants are tricky, because it is necessary to find and treat all the voids they are nesting in. In certain cases, specialized misting equipment should be used to make sure that all possible nesting spots have been adequately injected with insecticide. In addition to treating the ants themselves, any cavity inhabited by carpenter ants should also be treated for fungi as well as sealed against moisture.

TERMITE ENCOUNTERS SNAKE ENCOUNTERS SNAKE BITE FIRST AID * SNAKE EXCLUSION * SPIDER ENCOUNTERS * SPIDER BITE FIRST AID * SPIDER EXTERMINATION * PUSS CATERPILLAR ENCOUNTERS * PUSS CATERPILLAR FIRST AID * PUSS CATERPILLAR EXTERMINATIONAssembled & Edited by Jerry Cates. Questions? Corrections? Comments? BUG ME RIGHT NOW! ---- Ph: 512-331-1111 ---- E-Mail ---- Privacy ---- BugsInTheNew