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Florida Carpenter Ants

Active Seasons

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Appearance and Size Facts

  • Although many carpenter ant species occur in Florida, most are considered to be arboreal and not of much concern
  • The Florida, Tortugas and compact carpenter ants are those which are known to become structural pests
  • Although these ants nest in wood, they are not wood-destroying
  • Usually seek out wood that has previously been damaged by insects or water
  • Size: Ranges from 1/10 inch (Compact Carpenter ant workers) to 3/4 inch (Florida Carpenter ant alates)

Behavior and Habitat of Florida Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants forage alone or along trails, traveling roughly 300 or less feet from the nest. They enter buildings around door and window frames, through eaves, along plumbing and utility lines, and over branches touching the building. Peak foraging occurs at night for the Florida and Tortugas Carpenter ants, while the Compact Carpenter ant can be seen in the daytime. Carpenter ants can inflict a nasty bite when disturbed, sometimes drawing blood, and will spray formic acid into the wound for defense. Carpenter ants will feed on sweets or proteins. They seem to prefer voids for nesting which have these characteristics: close to moisture and food sources, safe from predators such as birds and lizards, safe from flooding, heat, and other environmental stresses, and easily accessible (for them).

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Signs of Infestation of Florida Carpenter Ants

Look for ant workers and swarmers (winged ants) foraging for food. Also look for rough wood shavings mixed with dead ants for signs of nesting. Sometimes you can also hear the "rustling" sound they make as they excavate the structure's wood.

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Tips for Prevention of Florida Carpenter Ants

Keep food items secured and pet food off of the floors. Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed 2 foot from the home. Caulk any visible cracks around windows and doors.

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Florida Carpenter Ant Gallery

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