Carpenter ants (Camponotus sp.) are a genus of ant that includes over 1000 species and are located right across Australia with some species commonly called ‘sugar ants’. Their large size and well-developed mandibles (designed for crushing seeds) are often confronting, especially for the parents of young children, but these jaws are rarely used for attack and the painful stinger present on other large ant species such as green or bull ants in absent so they’re a rarely of any physical risk.
Thankfully, their name is somewhat misleading, and they won’t eat your house (or build you a new one). Their habit of nesting in timber that has already deteriorated as a result of termites or wood decaying fungi and ejected waste that often resembles wood shavings is regularly enough the cause of a frantic phone call to our office from a concerned homeowner. Inside a house we often find them nesting in damaged timbers, hollowed doors, along top wall plates and in wall cavities often unnoticed until the winged reproductive explode out of a gap in the wall by their hundreds in the spring and summer months.
As with most ant species, carpenter ants are a nuisance pest only, but their habit of foraging long distances in search of food will often have 1 here, 1 there and then 1 here again with no sign or ability to track where they are coming from. This, their messy frass and reproductive eruptions make them one of our most common nuisance ant control targets.
What can you do to resolve the issue?
Sealing the gaps and cracks that they emerge from with a good quality gap sealer will help stop them entering either 1 by 1 or 100 at a time.
Off the shelf ‘insect sprays’ will kill this ant without an issue. The main issue with social insects is that they have the strength of a colony and losing 1, 2 or a few hundred individuals doesn’t usually make a noticeable difference to their presence so locating the nest is important. If you have an eruption, or can see where their saw dust like frass is being ejected from, using a straw tip aerosol can to apply the product directly into the nesting area should see great results.
Baiting this ant species is unlikely to be effective. Their foraging and food collection habits aren’t conducive to widespread intoxication from a single food source, so money spent on various bait products will be money wasted.
Call an Expert. As always, we are here to help. Our team of trained technicians will track and eliminate any ants that are nesting in your house, provide recommendation of environmental adjustments that will help prevent future infestation and cover the service with a warranty to make sure we have 100% customer satisfaction.