by | Feb 24, 2021

There are so many positive
aspects of living in a tropical climate.
They far outweigh the downsides.
However, one nuisance is that there is a higher risk of insects that
could damage your home. Termites and
carpenter ants are small critters that can wreak havoc and cost hundreds, if
not thousands of dollars in repairs to furniture and, more importantly, your
house. Carpenter ants are common in the Americas, especially Mexico.

Carpenter ants are often mistaken
for termites because they both damage wood and have a similar look. Because both have wings, people often mistake
the carpenter ant for a termite called the swarmer. Whereas winged ants have a narrow waist and
elbowed antennae, a termite swarmer has a broad abdomen and straight
antennae. Unlike the carpenter ant with
front wings longer than its rear wings, the termite’s front and back wings are
the same sizes.

There are over 24 species, but
the two most common are the red and black carpenter ants. Each carpenter ant in the colony varies in
size. While an adult carpenter ant can
measure from 6 to 12 mm in length, the male, or winged swarmer, can grow to up
to 18 mm. Queens can reach 20 mm in
length.Unlike termites who eat the wood,
carpenter ants only use wood to nest and live.
Carpenter ants prefer partially decayed wood for their homes, and their
nests are often difficult to find. They
tend to choose areas with moisture problems, such as attics and ceilings, rugs
and flooring, windows, doors, trees and shrubs, woodpiles, plumbing, electrical
and other utility entries, gutters, vents, trashcans and sheds or
doghouses. A nest of carpenter ants
generally grows to about 2000 or 3000 workers.
Some nests have been known to have 100,000 workers. It takes about three to six years to
establish a large and stable colony. The life cycle of a carpenter ant is
estimated to be 6 to 12 weeks from egg to adult.

A tell-tale sign of their
presence is when you see sawdust around wood furniture. Sometimes you can hear carpenter ants
rustling within wall voids.

Should you think you have
uninvited house guests, there are pesticides available to ensure they check out
early. Place insecticide that contains
an attractive sugary bait near a carpenter ant trail, and the worker ants will
take it back to the nest. Generally, it
will take a few days for the colony to die.
If there is more than one nest, it will take longer.

Boric acid is considered a go-to
product to control all ant species, including carpenter ants. You can get boric acid as either a dry powder
or liquid bait. It is readily available,
odorless, and effective when applied according to instructions. Since it is sometimes difficult to correctly
formulate this solution, there is no guarantee that it will kill a colony. If you suspect there might be more than one
nest, it may be best to bring in a professional sooner rather than later.When purchasing furniture for
your home, it is always best to invest in items that have been pre-treated to
reduce the risk of insect damage. You
may hear that termites and carpenter ants do not eat parota wood. This oft-repeated advice is not
accurate. Termites eat wood, insulation,
paper on tablaroca, and even concrete.
They will tend to go after softer materials first since it is easier to
digest. Many of today’s quality
furniture manufacturers produce their lines with high and medium-density
fiberboard, pre-treated to withstand insect damage. Instead of investing more money than you need
to in untreated solid parota wood cabinetry and furniture, your better value
may well be to go with treated wood materials.

New condo? Save money and stress. We offer over 20 stylish furniture packages
delivered right to your condo starting at only USD 3499.00. Visit us online at or
stop by our store at 363A Constitucion just off Basilio Badillo, where the
buses are.   

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