Carpenter Ant Identification
Carpenter ants are generally not structural pests, but once in awhile, we get a call for the giant, black carpenter ants here in Hawaii. There’s also a red variety of carpenter ants that are about half the size of the black version.
Carpenter Ant Inspections
We find these ants in rock walls, trees, and in the great outdoors. Unlike the big-headed ants, these pests we find actually in roofs and attacks and make their way down to bother you in your home- crawling on the walls and random places throughout the home.
Kilauea’s Carpenter Ant Control Process
Carpenter ants are found all over Oahu but generally do not come into homes. Usually, when we find interior carpenter ants, it’s in open beam ceilings for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s just so far removed or just all the little cracks and crevices they can get into, but carpenter ants will base their colonies in these joints between the tongue and groove or wooden beams.
The inspection and treatment for carpenter ant control are more involved than most ant control services that we do, and they’re more closely related to a carpenter bee treatment since we do need to inject a treatment into the voids to eliminate the colony. It also usually involves a ladder and some time and effort in identifying the colony source. For this reason, carpenter ant control is an add-on service to our regular pest control service.
Carpenter Ant Control Tips for Homeowners
We get the common question, “Do carpenter ants eat wood”? This is a question where local knowledge trumps a common internet search. The answer is- yes, and no. Carpenter ants generally DO chew wood (but don’t digest it like termites), but not our Hawaii version.
This brings up another interesting difference in the termite reports from Hawaii and the mainland. In Hawaii, we have what’s called the PC-9 form: the standard form used during escrow to give an opinion of a home being free from termites. It’s specifically for termites and commonly referred to as a TIR (Termite Inspection Report). In contrast, The NMPA form and many other state-specific forms are WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) reports as opposed to Hawaii’s TIR’s. What that means, is different in many other states, in addition to termites, termite home inspectors are expected to be able to identify and recommend remediation for such pests as wood-destroying bees, beetles, carpenter ants, and varieties of mold and fungus issues.
Thankfully we don’t have some of these pests in Hawaii, but what we do have the worst of, is termites. Termites, both ground and dry wood termites cause many millions of dollars of damage, and the saying goes, that termites cause more damage than tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes in the US annually.
This is one of the reasons we suggest getting your home inspected for termites if you notice or suspect termite activity like mud tubes (for subterranean) or droppings (looks like sand or pepper) or find termite damage. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s an old activity or not, but we can help put your mind at ease with an inspection and consultation of different termite remedies and preventative measures for your (most likely) biggest investment; your home.
Feel free to message a picture of any carpenter ant or other past for identification if you’d like help with these rare but annoyingly hard to control ant species!