There are many species of ants in Oahu but none make people as uncomfortable as the carpenter ant or the fire ant. Both of these species can cause serious problems when they make their homes near or even inside your house.
Fire ants are not natives of Hawaii. They are an invasive species that was first discovered on the Big Island in 1999. When these tropical ants arrived they found the tropical climate and lack of natural predators quite suitable. Since then, they have spread unchecked throughout Hawaii, invading lawns and posing a serious threat to anyone who disturbs their nests.
They live in underground colonies that can reach numbers in the millions. When these ants make their home in your yard, they can construct extensive tunnel systems, feeding on the roots of your grass and causing it to decline. Not to mention the large dirt mounds that can seemingly appear overnight can make mowing difficult and playing in your yard impossible.
Identifying Fire Ants
Fire ants are orange-red to light brown, and the workers are about 1.5 mm in length. You will usually first notice fire ants by the mounds that appear in your grass. These colonies can easily contain half a million ants, and the colony can cover an area as large as an acre. Fire ants are aggressive and behave instinctively when someone trespasses in their territories, such as children, pets, and lawnmowers. Fire ant stings are known to be very painful, like being stuck with a hot poker.
Carpenter ants are not aggressive biters like fire ants, but, let’s be honest, they are much scarier looking. Instead of building mounds in your yard, carpenter ants make their nests in dead, moist wood. They usually prefer old rotting trees, but when they find a suitable place in your home, they can cause some serious damage to your wooden structures. Once established, they will chew tunnel systems through the wood in your walls, floors, and ceilings as they expand. When these ants get inside your walls, it’s hard to remove them unless you can discover their nest and use a combination of insecticide sprays and bait traps. It is much easier to prevent them from coming into your home in the first place.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are much larger than fire ants and are usually dark or black in color. Depending on the species of carpenter ants, they can measure from 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch. They do not have painful venom like fire ants, but they can bite with their formidable mouthparts.
How To Prevent Carpenter Ants
- Fix roof leaks and plumbing leaks.
- Prune tree limbs that grow close to or touch your house.
- Seal cracks and openings around the foundation and where utility lines enter the house
- Keep firewood a good distance away from the home and only bring it inside if you intend to burn it immediately.
Get Oahu Ant Control Services From Sandwich Isle
If you’re experiencing issues with fire ants or carpenter ants in your yard or home, the best way to handle it is to leave it to the professionals. At Sandwich Isle, we have years of experience controlling all manner of ants in Oahu. Check out our ant control program, or contact us today for more information. Don’t forget to check out our monthly blog for more helpful tips and tricks.
Fire Ants and Carpenter Ants: What’s the Difference and How to Protect Your Home From Both￼ Professional Pest Control Services in Pearl City HI