Guide To Winged Carpenter Ants

Guide To Winged Carpenter Ants 

Carpenter ants are some of the largest ant species in the US, reaching sizes between ¼ to ½ of an inch. They will come in mostly black coloration, but there are subspecies that can be red or brown. Other distinguishing characteristics include the rounded thorax and heart-shaped heads.

The carpenter ant colony

Carpenter ant colonies are split up into castes, and you have workers, swarmers and queens. The workers take care of the day to day affairs of the colony, forage for food, and rear the young. The queen is tasked with producing more workers and ensuring the reproduction of the colony. Each colony can grow to be up to 3,000 members in size, and a queen can live up to 25 years. In this article, we are interested in the swarmers.

The winged ants

Carpenter ant workers and queens are both wingless, but the swarmers are not. So when you see flying ants in your home, you are looking at these swarmers. Swarmers have two sets of wings, which are located on the thorax, with the front wings being longer than those in the rear (this is one of the signs that you are dealing with ants and not termites).

Swarmers can reach up to ¾ of an inch in length, and they are usually produced by the queen when the colony is two years old. The purpose of the swarmers is to spread out, reproduce and start new colonies. This process begins in spring and it can last until the beginning of fall. The swarmers will pair up, male and female, with the male dying off after mating. The female will then land, shed its wings and look for a new place in which it can start a colony, preferably in damp or rotted wood.

Seeing the swarmers inside or around your home does not automatically indicate that you have an infestation, but it’s a clear sign that there is a mature colony nearby. You may also see carpenter ant workers wandering through the home gathering food, but again, this does not mean that the home itself is infested. Still, if you notice any of these two castes inside the home, you should get in touch with a pest control specialist right away so he can perform an inspection to make sure that the colony is not inside of the building. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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