Carpenter Ants ? How can you tell they are carpenter ants by their little tool belts ? Heard that one before. Well hello again from A.N.T.T.S = A North Texas Termite Specialist. This time of the year all around the Dallas/Fort Worth area people are having heart attacks thinking they have swarming termites. They see this bug that has wings and in their mind they are sure it is a termite. Well you can relax a bit and take comfort in the fact that most likely it’s not a termite and just one of the hundreds of types of swarming ants we have around Keller, Southlake & Grapevine Texas. To start termites (Subterranean) only swarm in early to mid spring. Once they swarm out looking to find a mate and start a new colony they are done. All it takes is a short cold front to move into North Texas and the swarm season is over. It can last months, weeks or even just a few days. This is the time when you really get lucky to find you have them because if they don’t swarm due to weather or some other reason then they have another whole year to eat your home. Now what are these bugs with wings that people are calling and freaking out about ? They are usually one of the big four ant species we have around DFW. They are either carpenter ants, fire ants, Argentine ants or acrobat ants. All of these ants are very common around here and will swarm when it gets real hot and we have had a recent rain. We get this call all the time, ” I have a termite on my floor, I’m sure it’s a termite it has wings.” Well when we probe them and ask a couple simple questions like what color and how big ? We get answers like, “Well it looks like a ant with wings and is red and black.” Well to start termites are solid black and and cigar shaped not shaped like a ant. And finally if it looks like a ant chances are it is a ant. So now we have discovered you do not in fact have termites but you have carpenter ants or acrobat ants. These two ants are very similar in shape, size and color and they both do chew wood. They do not eat it for a food source such as termites but they will chew it and spit it out to make room for their growing colonies. The difference between the two is simple carpenter ants are varied in size and have a more oval bottom and have a reddish copper color mid section and acrobat ants look the same in color but are all the same size and their butt is heart shaped and can lift up in the air when they are stressed. When it comes to treating these ants it’s basically the same for us. We use a combination of long residual sprays and dust. We concentrate on treating the trails where we see them foraging for food and we look for signs to located the colony such as sawdust or insulation piles being deposited by the worker ants through a hole in the wall or in window sills. They do migrate towards moisture they need it to survive. So if your home has a lot of wood rot then your just looking for carpenter ant trouble. The other conducive conditions that can lead to ant problems are heavy foliage touching the home mainly vines and ivy. Branches from trees don’t just scratch your roof they are carpenter ant highways. These ants can be controlled on your own but I can tell you from almost 30 years in the pest control business they are not easy for us or even some other pest control companies! We do have great treatment plans for them and do warranty all of our pest control treatments for 90 days so when we treat a home we do the best job the first time because re-treats are on us. In closing we would tell you to do these simple things to help reduce your risk of a pest problem with ants. Trim all foliage, clean gutters, fix any leaks or wood rot and maybe think about getting on a quarterly pest control service ? We charge around $55.00 to $125.00 per quarter to protect your home from wood destroying insects such as carpenter ants and all general pest. A small price to pay to be pest free!