Numerous insect pests that bore into structural woods can be found within Louisiana. Ants and beetles make up the vast majority of these wood-boring pest species. Unlike wood-hungry termites, nearly all of these structural ant and beetle pests bore into processed lumber solely for nesting purposes. Carpenter ants are the most significant structural ant pests in the US, and several carpenter ant species have been documented within Louisiana. Considering the termite pest issues that plague Louisiana homeowners nearly all year round, carpenter ants are easily overshadowed by termites in the state. However, the most commonly encountered and most economically significant carpenter ant species in the US, the black carpenter ant, inflicts significant damage to structural woods within residential and urban structures in Louisiana.
The exact number of carpenter ant species dwelling within Louisiana is not known to experts, but statewide surveys have turned up between 15 and 20 species in Mississippi and Texas. Although carpenter ants are the largest-bodied ants in the world, experts have a difficult time discerning carpenter ants from the similar looking Formica ants. Most carpenter ant species in Louisiana do not infest structural wood, and all carpenter ant species infest natural wood sources. However, many carpenter ant species in the state occasionally infest structural wood sources that have undergone considerable decay, but these infestations are not generally considered to be of significant economic importance.
Carpenter ant species seek out human food sources within homes where they can establish nuisance infestations. The black carpenter ant is the only carpenter ant species in Louisiana that is considered a serious structural pest, but nine other species in the state are considered occasional structural pests. These less-damaging carpenter ant species include the red carpenter ant, the American carpenter ant and the Florida carpenter ant. Most carpenter ant species in Louisiana, including the destructive black carpenter ant, have become known for their seasonal nuisance swarms that often occur within or near homes in the state. The black carpenter ant is distributed all over Louisiana, and this species is usually quite difficult to eradicate from infested homes.
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