Carpenter ant Dangers
Carpenter ants are a serious danger to your home. They are like termites in that they build their nests in wood. While they do not eat the wood that does not stop them from causing severe and expensive destruction to your home. Given long enough a carpenter ant infestation can bring your home to the brink of collapse which could lead to it being condemned and demolished for safety purposes. So before you get a letter from the government you will need to get that infestation treated.
Carpenter Ant Size
Carpenter ants are the largest ants in North America. They can grow to a size as large as two centimetres and that is just the workers. The ants are big enough that you can see their anatomy plainly as are a serious problem as that size is also the size of the tunnels they are carving into your home. Most of the time these infestations start on the exterior of your home. They will build a nest in dead, old often wet or rotting wood either on or close to your property and then move into your home once a colony has been established.
Carpenter Ant Nesting
This can create a very serious long lived infestation that cannot be dealt with just by treating the infestation in the house as the ants will continue to multiply on the exterior. Even in cold environments like Northern Canada where winters get very cold the ants are still able to stay warm in their nests and can still go outside for short periods. If there is an external nest that must be treated as well or the infestation will not end.
Carpenter Ant Anatomy
Carpenter ant anatomy is complicated as the workers grow wings later in the season. Queens, their sexualized female offspring and their sexualized male offspring also have wings and are much larger than the workers. The workers are the smallest of the group but still possess wings at points in their lifetime. The greatest danger to humans, aside from the destruction of their homes, is that carpenter ants have large mandibles that can rip through human skin. They do bite if threatened and can also spit formic acid into the wound causing a great deal of pain.
Domestic treatment for carpenter ants is possible but will take longer and while you may know the location of the actual nest there is very little you can do to attack them directly. Indirect treatments like insecticide dust and bait are the limit. You can try spraying pesticide into cracks and crevices but generally speaking, they will just make new openings to avoid it.
Commercial treatment for carpenter ants is far more effective as along with the commercial grade bait and the pesticide sprays on the exterior and interior the technician can also use a device called an actisol which can produce a lighter-than-air mist which can penetrate areas of deep harbourage like behind walls. This can fill the nest with pesticides killing it much faster.