Thursday, May 19, 2022

Carpenter Ants : Relationship with Humans

As Pests

Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave behind a sawdust-like material called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas. Carpenter ants can be identified by the general presence of one upward protruding node, looking like a spike, at the "waist" attachment between the thorax and abdomen (petiole). Control involves application of insecticides in various forms including dusts and liquids. The dusts are injected directly into galleries and voids where the carpenter ants are living. The liquids are applied in areas where foraging ants are likely to pick the material up and spread the poison to the colony upon returning.

As Food

Carpenter ants and their larvae are eaten in various parts of the world. In Australia, the Honeypot ant (Camponotus inflatus) is regularly eaten raw by Indigenous Australians. It is a particular favourite source of sugar for Australian Aborigines living in arid regions, partially digging up their nests instead of digging them up entirely, in order to preserve this food source. In North America, lumbermen during the early years in Maine would eat carpenter ants to prevent scurvy, and in John Muir's publication, First Summer in the Sierra, Muir notes that the Northern Paiute people of California ate the tickling, acid gasters of the large jet-black carpenter ants. In Africa, carpenter ants are among a vast number of species that are consumed by the San people.

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