Garden Plot: Ants in your pants

Some ants are better than others, according to Mike McGrath. These pictured you will not find in your backyard, but there are plenty of other kinds you might. (Getty Images)

Carpenter ants are a sure sign of wet wood

Stephen in Gaithersburg writes: “We have LOTS of ants in our front and back yard – – both the normal small brownish ants and larger black ants (not sure if they are just black ants or carpenter ants). It’s the black ants that are my particular problem, as they are actually building a small mound in our backyard.”

Well Steve, scientists estimate that there may be more ants on the planet than any other type of creature, and they come in an astonishing array of shapes and sizes. Your large black mound-building ants are somewhat unusual in our area (but not unheard of), and luckily for you, are not carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants don’t build mounds or live in lawns. Instead, they search for and ingest damp cellulose, like wet cardboard and rotting wood. Big black carpenter ants in your home are a warning sign that you either have something like a lot of wet cardboard boxes lying around or rotting wood somewhere.

In such cases, it’s important to remember that the carpenter ants are not the problem -

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