Do You Have Carpenter Ants?
The presence of a few foraging ants in the home, or 1 or 2 winged queens during swarming times does not mean you have an infestation. These foragers may merely be scout ants seeking food or nesting sites or queens that have flown in an open door.
Carpenter ant colony invades and damages the integrity of the wood within a house.
Foraging ants have been seen entering homes along telephone wires or along branches touching the roof or even from ground trails that come under a door. In such cases, the house may be a nesting area.
If ants are coming in, there may be a nest outside the house and eventually they may establish satellite colonies in some part of the structure. Be certain they are carpenter ants and not moisture ants, termites or yellowjackets.
Carpenter Ants - Seattle Pest Control
Evidence of Infestation
Presence of ants (workers or winged reproductives): An occasional ant may be a scout looking for food and may not indicate the presence of a nest, but continuous or numerous ants are a sign of nesting.
Carpenter Ant Life Cycle
Reproductive ants (winged males and females) leave the nest anytime from early January through June (different colonies leaving at different times). Mating takes place in swarms, with the first mating swarms noted in May (others in June, July, August and September).
Mated queens find a suitable place to live and chew off their wings, excavate a small home and begin laying eggs. Mated queens lay eggs which become workers or queens. Unmated queens or queens which have run out of sperm can produce only males.
By the end of the summer either workers have emerged or the larvae from late eggs become dormant. No feeding occurs during the winter months (November, December, January).
The dormant phase ends about mid-January, when the queen begins laying eggs again.
The rate of growth of a colony from one queen in the first year, or season, is very low (with only 1 or 2 dozen workers).