The nest of the carpenter ants can be very intricate. If you were to find one it could just look like a piece of wood has been carved out very nicely. Unfortunately, the carving is done by carpenter ants while they make their home. The cut outs are actually called galleries or tunnels. In a way the galleries almost look like a maze has been cut into the object.
An important factor in the nest location for carpenter ants is moisture. Carpenter ants can make their nest in many different things that either have natural moisture to them or are near moist areas. Some of these spots are things like moist wood, firewood, near sinks or showers, under roofing, and or in wall voids. Once a location has been chosen the carpenter ants will get to work.
The nest of a carpenter ant may be found indoors or outdoors, although most often the main nest will be outdoors. Within the carpenter ant colony there will be a main nest, called the parent colony, and then there are smaller nests, called satellite colonies. A colony of carpenter ants can have up to 20 satellite colonies. The main purpose of a satellite colony is to have a place outside of the chaos within the parent colony to take care of the pupa. The workers take the pupa and transfer them from being with the Queen to a satellite colony where the workers will take care of them until they are adults. Often times the satellite colony can be found inside a home. Unlike the parent colony the satellite colony does not need as much moisture.
Many times homeowners will see carpenter ants in their home and do not know where they are coming from. This is usually because the carpenter ants are out searching for food. If the carpenter ants are inside the home they can either be passing through or coming out of their nest. The best way to determine where the carpenter ants are coming from is to find their nest. If you can not find the nest it could be outdoors, and the carpenter ants are just looking for food. If you do find the nest it is best to call your local pest control service to come remove the carpenter ants. Finding a nest can be trying. It is best to attempt to locate the nest at night when the carpenter ants are more likely to be out. Once you see them follow them, you don’t want to startle them so use a flashlight with a red film or lens on it. Carpenter ants can not see red light so they won’t see you following them. Hopefully they will be headed back to their nest and you can follow them. If they look like they are looking for food go ahead and lay some of their favorites out as a lure, then once they get their food they will head back to the nest. In the case that you do not see the carpenter ants out and about look around your home for frass, the saw dust looking stuff, as that is usually left near the nest.
Another option is listening for the ants. Check in any suspected areas where carpenter ants like to build their nests, and tap on the object or wall. Put your ear up to it and listen for a rustling sound, carpenter ants make this sound with their jaw and if they are disturbed, by tapping on the wall, the sound will get louder. If you locate the noise you have your nest location. At any time you find a nest call your local pest control service to come out and evaluate the colonies. The most important thing in controlling carpenter ants is that you destroy the parent colony, and not just all the satellite colonies. A professional pest control agent will be best at determining if the nest you have found is a parent or satellite nest.
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