Florida Carpenter Ant Facts
- Typically Florida Carpenter Ants are 5/8th of an inch in length.
- Florida Carpenter Ants can be black, red or light to dark brown in color.
- Florida Carpenter Ants destroy wood and feed on other insects causing as much damage or, in some cases, more than caused by termites.
Florida Carpenter Ant Infestation
Nesting habits of these bicolored ants are similar to other carpenter ant species. They tend to choose areas with moisture problems, such as attics and ceilings, carpets and flooring, windows, doors, trees and shrubs, woodpiles, plumbing, electrical and other utility entries, gutters, vents, trashcans and sheds or doghouses. Florida carpenter ants are one of the most common indoor insect pests in Florida. Sightings are numerous during the spring swarm season, usually between April and June, when winged females are often found in homes in such places as along window ledges and near sliding glass doors. It is common to mistake winged ants for winged termites.
Red and black carpenter ants eat a variety of dead and living plants and insects, as well as sweets, honeydew, meats and other household items. These ants are nocturnal and tend to forage for food at night. The peak foraging hours are just before sunset until two hours after sunset, then again around dawn. Foraging proceeds in very loosely defined trails or by individual ants that seem to wander aimlessly. These ants have a fondness for sweets and can be found in campgrounds near soda machines and other areas where sweets are readily accessible. The diet of carpenter ants includes living and dead insects, meat, fats and sugary foods of all kinds, including honeydew and nectar from plants. Florida carpenter ants foraging in homes can be in search of sweets or moisture, or even new nesting sites, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, or other rooms that have water leaks from plumbing or leaks around doors and windows.
Like other species of carpenter ants, red and black carpenter ants typically nest in partially decayed wood, moist areas, and other structures that offer consistent temperature, protection from environmental changes and predators. They need a constant water source to survive. These ants do not eat the wood they remove during their nest-building activities but can severely damage it, digging smooth tunnels inside the wood causing structural weakening. Over time, an infestation can cause serious structural damage to a property. This kind of damage can be very expensive to fix.