A common complaint we hear is that people from out of state are moving into Bozeman and ruining it for the long-time locals. Well, we have a new nuisance on our hands, and they're moving in by the hundreds.

You may notice large groups or large individual ones roaming around your property, including on sidewalks, fences, and basically anywhere and everywhere they can get their little legs on. So what are these buggers?

Carpenter Ants.

Photo by David Higgins on Unsplash
Photo by David Higgins on Unsplash
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Carpenter ants have been a common complaint on local social media platforms, and people are not familiar with them. Here are some common facts about these wood-working pests.

The ones you have probably seen are the most common ones and all black in color, but they can also be brown, red, or black and red.

They can grow anywhere from 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size, which if you think about it, is pretty dang big compared to the normal ants we're used to.

Photo by Jenny Chambers on Unsplash
Photo by Jenny Chambers on Unsplash
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Carpenter ants get their name because of their "wood working" skills. They eat through wood, leaving a little pile of sawdust behind, as they don't consume the wood; they just gnaw through it to make a little tunnel. Their favorite wood to "victimize" is damp wood that is often covered in fungus.

Photo by Georgi Kyurpanov on Unsplash
Photo by Georgi Kyurpanov on Unsplash
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Are carpenter ants harmful to people?

They do have strong jaws, which helps them get through the wood, and they will on occasion bite. Good news, if you get bit, it will just burn or sting a bit and then eventually go away. There haven't been any "official reports" that bites have caused significant health concerns.

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
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How many carpenter ants are usually in a colony?

It isn't uncommon to have a colony that contains anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 ants, but can be as high as 50,000.

When should I be concerned and call a pest professional?

With longer daylight hours now, you will most likely see more of these pests around, as the long hours sort of serve as a mating call. The males will release their "scent" as the longer daylight hours basically tell them that it is time to "swarm" aka: reproduce. If you see a winged carpenter ant INSIDE your home, you most likely have a nest within the home's structure.

Photo by Steve Tognoli on Unsplash
Photo by Steve Tognoli on Unsplash
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If you think you have a carpenter ant infestation, put a call into a local pest control professional. Some appointments may be weeks out, so best to get on the list asap.

For the time being, keep your wood areas dry, as the ants do need moisture to survive, watch for little piles of saw dust, and keep an eye out for the winged little buggers.

cc: pestworld.com

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