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Ants are ubiquitous in just about every outdoor area, and everyone knows that some species can inflict painful bites or stings, but not everyone knows that some can also inflict serious damage to a home or building’s structural wood. However, Massachusetts homeowners may be aware of the carpenter ant threat, as carpenter ants are the most destructive ant pests to wood in the state. In fact, experts say that the carpenter ant is not just the most destructive wood-damaging ant species in the state, but it is actually the most destructive of all pests to wood in the entirety of New England, beating out the eastern subterranean termite. Luckily, carpenter ant colonies are smaller in size than eastern subterranean termite colonies, so the ants do not inflict damage to structural wood as rapidly as termites. Unfortunately, now is the time of year when carpenter ants tend to emerge within homes in Massachusetts, as reproductive carpenter ants begin to swarm in search of new nesting sites within damp wood as early as March in the state.

There are several reasons why carpenter ants are particularly damaging to structures in Massachusetts. For one thing there exists multiple carpenter ant species in Massachusetts, while only one termite species exists within the state. Carpenter ants are also attracted to moist environments, making their presence on the coast of Massachusetts particularly abundant. Carpenter ants are also able to forage long distances from their colony’s nesting site. Several studies show that carpenter ants often forage as far as 100 yards from their nest, making the chances that they will encounter homes highly likely. Carpenter ants are also the largest sized ants in the world in terms of body size, making them easy to identify. Most carpenter ant infestations require the services of a pest control professional to eradicate, but cutting off moisture sources that cause structural wood to become damp is often sufficient to force carpenter ants to abandon structural wood.

Have you ever found relatively large-sized black ants wandering in or near your home?