Carpenter Ant vs. Pavement Ant: Identification and Physical Differences

Why do you need to know the differences between pavement ants vs carpenter ants? Ants, in general, are common in many homes, but what’s problematic is having an infestation where you don’t want them to be.

Ants can be very helpful as they remove food crumbs that are left on the floor or tables. It turns into a nuisance when these insects begin to swarm your food sources and make edible food inedible for anybody in the house.

Usually, you will notice more pests during the summertime as they tend to flock indoors. Most insects tend to be more active when the warmer months begin. These pests start to look for sources of water during these dry periods which is why they also go for the humid parts of the property.

Why Ants Act the Way They Do

It’s important to know what makes ants act in certain ways and what possible ways you can prevent them from invading your home. During the summer months, you will usually find ants foraging for food, water, and shelter in homes.

One of the first things that these insects go for is sweet and sugary food. Thus, you can easily find them in your sugar containers and places where you keep sweets. Once an ant finds the food, it will start calling in the rest of the group, thus the infestation begins.

Ants tend to leave scent trails for others to come and find them. If you observe these insects you will notice that they usually fall into a line and send signals to each other as each insect passes by. That’s how they know where to go and where to find food. Below are some common types of insects you will find in your home.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants always look for damp areas to build their nests in. They prefer places where there is decaying wood or places where there is more moisture. Houses that have moisture problems and noticeable cracks in the walls attract these types of ants.

  • What They Look Like
    The carpenter ants are on the larger side when it comes to ant size. They are among the largest and measure about 3.4 to 13 mm. These insects are commonly black, but you can also find others having a more yellowish or reddish shade. You can also find others that have dark brown, yellow, red, and even orange shades. In some cases, you can also find carpenter ants that have both red and black combinations of colors. Workers ants have large mandibles, which are noticeable in these insects.Carpenter ants often use tree branches to cross over into properties. That’s why when your home has unsealed cracks and openings, it will serve as the insect’s way into your property. You should also check the unsealed pipes and wires that go into your house.
  • Where They Live
    Usually, carpenter ants build their nests in the wood tunnels that they create. They tend to weaken the wood from the inside which can be very risky for homes that have wooden parts. When you have a pest infestation, they will create various colonies in the wood which could cause structural damage in the future. These insects don’t necessarily consume the wood that they dig out. Rather, they will deposit wooden debris outside the nests and you can find them in small piles. The pests will still feed on people’s food such as meat or sweets.Queen ants can lay about 9 to 16 eggs during their first year. The egg life cycle lasts from 6 to 12 weeks and queens can live up to 25 years. These insects are called carpenter ants because how they prefer to build their colonies by excavating wood and creating passageways inside.

Pavement Ant

You’ll know that you’re dealing with pavement ants when you notice a large number of ants invading your home specifically in the kitchen area. These pests tend to overtake homes most especially the patio area since they tend to follow food scent trails from the source back to their nests.

  • What They Look Like
    These pests appear in black to brown shades with pale legs and antennae. A pavement ant’s size ranges from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length with the pavement ant queens being 3/8 inch long. Pavement ants are not potentially dangerous, but they can be annoying especially when they swarm your food. You could also notice that these pests are easily attracted to cheese, meat, nuts, bread, honey, and other household foods. They will give you a hard time if you don’t store your food properly or if you don’t clean your kitchen regularly.
  • Where They Live
    Pavement ants have nests built outdoors. You can find these nests in the cracks of your pavement, under the rocks, and even along curbs. Sometimes, they also make nests indoors and you can commonly find them under floors and on your walls. These insects love to be near heat sources which is why they choose to nest in walls and your insulation. They also like to follow pipes, so they can access the second floor of your home. You can also find them in stones, cement slobs, patio blocks, logs, and bricks.

Making Your Property Insect-Free

Now that you’re more familiar with the common types of ants that invade homes, it will be easier for you to identify them. Knowing which insects you’re dealing with will help you find the proper ways to get rid of them.

Since carpenter and pavement ants can come from the outside and travel into your home, one of the best ways to block them out is to use a bar entry. Another practical solution is creating bait stations where you put food sources away from your doors to distract the pests.

Of course, one of the better options is calling in the help of pest control services. You can call professionals to handle the infestation if it’s too much to handle for you. When you find colonies of ants in your home, enough to endanger your life, then it’s time to call the experts. They will be able to identify whether you’re dealing with a carpenter ant vs pavement ant.