When considering insect pests, it is important to remember how incredibly diverse and regional they can be. The indigenous insect pests we encounter locally will not be the same as those encountered in Ontario or Vancouver, for example. While most pest insects will present as nuisances, there is only one insect in the Edmonton Area that threatens our homes: The Carpenter Ant.
Of course, when most people think about wood destroying pests, they think of termites or other pests alike. However, two of our local Carpenter Ant species are capable of damaging the healthy wood and destroying our homes.
Carpenter Ant colonies consist of up to 25 different nesting sites. The parent nest, where the queen resides, will have some rot. This provides the right humidity levels for laying eggs and larvae. This rotting wood may be inside a structure, or in an adjacent, tree, fence, or stump. The “satellite nests,” and portions of the parent nest, however, can be in perfectly sound wood and go undetected. These nests consist of excavated tunnels in the wood – thereby reducing its structural value. In some cases, this can be disastrous for our homes.
The worker Carpenter Ants that destroy our homes come in three different sizes but are typically medium to large black ants, and some have a red thorax (middle section). They do not produce their own body heat and therefore rely on ambient temperatures providing enough warmth to allow them to be active. These ants are common to our local Edmonton area, and while some may wander inside coincidentally in the summer months, any number of them seen inside the home during the winter months or early spring is a clear indication that they are nesting in the structure.
Common mistakes when dealing with Carpenter Ants
A common error in dealing with a known Carpenter Ant infestation is to respond only to known areas of infestation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account that their nesting behavior may not address the full scope of the infestation and the damage it can cause and is unlikely to remove the infestation.