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Ask the Orkin Man

What are these large black ants with wings?

Question: I keep getting large black, look like big ants, some have wings, in my bathroom. They do not look like termites. They bite. One stung or bit me on the foot. They only seem to be in the 2nd floor bathroom. Any ideas for me on what they are?

ANSWER: These are probably carpenter ants. Without a specimen it is difficult to make a proper identification, so I am basing my identification on your description. Most are large black ants, though some be red or a combination of red and black. Most will swarm in the spring. They feed on other insects and honeydew from aphids on plants.

carpenter ants in the ground
carpenter ants in the ground

Carpenter ants like to nest in wood that has been  damaged from moisture, though they do not eat the wood. If there is a nest in the house, it is because there is wood damaged from moisture somewhere in the home:

  • in the bathroom from a tub or shower that is not draining correctly or overflows often
  • a porch that holds moisture
  • a leaky roof leak
  • a wet door frame (rain)
  • a spout or gutter that does not work

Carpenter ants tend to be active inside in the spring. Look for them in the kitchen and other areas of the home in February and March. There may be a nest in the house. Later in the spring, they may go outdoors; however, this does not mean that they have been controlled. Sometimes the nest is outdoors and they are just foraging for food indoors.

Contact your local Orkin branch office to have a highly trained Orkin Inspector come to your home and help you to properly identify the ants and locate the nest. That would be the first order of business. Your Orkin Inspector will assess the situation and develop a customized treatment plan that best suits your situation.

close up picture of carpenter ant
Carpenter Ant Close-up

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