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Morse Termite and Pest Control
P.O. Box 1155
Clovis, CA 93613
(559) 325-9400
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Home > Other Wood Decay Issues > Carpenter Ants


(See also here for more information about ants.)

Carpenter ants are large black or black and brown ants. They are most active during the evening hours, especially during the warm summer months. They are called carpenter ants because of their habit of hollowing out wood to create a nesting site.

We don't encounter carpenter ants all that often in the Fresno metro area. They are not a major pest problem on the San Joaquin Valley floor. They are, however, a very serious pest problem to structures in our mountain communities, such as Bass Lake, Yosemite, Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, etc. They are also a major pest problem in the damp Pacific Northwest areas of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

Carpenter ants are large ants that build semi-permanent colonies. They burrow into wood to create nesting galleries. Although they do not actually eat the wood (like termites do), they manage to do considerable damage when conditions are right. Usually the main colony will be in a damp area. The queen requires a damp environment to raise her brood. An old rotten log or tree stump could be a perfect place for a queen carpenter ant to set up housekeeping.

In addition to the main, reproducing colony, they also create "satellite colonies" during the summer months. A satellite colony may be many yards from the main colony. When set up within the dry walls or attic of a house, the satellite colony seldom does any significant damage to the woodwork. However, if the woodwork is damp due high humidity, a leak or other moisture source, a reproducing colony may establish in the house. Then these insects can become very destructive.

Sometimes during the spring months Carpenter ants will set up a satellite colony inside a house. The young winged males will emerge and fly around the house. When this happens it usually prompts a panic call to the termite man. These are "false alarm" termite swarmer calls.

Ants are pretty easy to distinguish from termites. Ants are related to bees and wasps. Termites are not related to ants at all. They belong to a completely different group of insects. A trained set of eyes can distinguish the two very quickly. You can easily see the differences for yourself by going to our Ants or Termites? page.

Carpenter ant infestations may be handled by either a general pest control company or a termite control company. The state of California leaves it up to the licensee, in the case of carpenter ants. At Morse Termite and Pest Control we can handle almost any carpenter ant problem. Just give us a call and we will be happy to take a look and provide a quote for service.

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