Summer is a popular time for building things. When a new home is built, those people doing the building are called carpenters. In this blog, however, the kind of carpenter we’ll be talking about is not the kind you want working on your home.
The Carpenter Ant does not construct and build in the manner you might think. When a carpenter ant decides to ‘build’ a nest in your home, it is not like adding a bedroom or third car garage to your home. In order to make room for their nest, carpenter ants will chew through the wood that makes up the floor and framing of the home.
These pests prefer damp or decaying wood. Homes with moisture issues caused by leaks are prime targets for carpenter ants. The pests will also use tree branches that overhang roofs to access buildings to find a way inside. Unsealed openings around utility pipes and wires are common entry points.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume the wood.
What do carpenter ants look like?
The carpenter ant lives in large groups known as a colony. A mature carpenter ant colony can contain anywhere from 10-20,000 workers. Each colony usually has only one functional, wingless queen.
Carpenter ants vary in size and can be anywhere from ½” to ⅝” long. Most carpenter ants in America are black, but some species have reddish or yellowish coloration.
How serious are carpenter ants?
When carpenter ants build nests, they dig out tunnels in wood, weakening the wood from the inside. A long-term infestation with multiple colonies in a home often means serious structural and cosmetic damage.
Because they chew through the center of the wood, a carpenter ant infestation will often go unnoticed until it’s too late. The damage caused by carpenter ants is often confused with termite damage, as are the insects themselves. Termites actually eat and digest the cellulose found in the wood, carpenter ants simply hollow out galleries to use as nests in wood.
Signs of carpenter ant infestation
The most obvious sign of carpenter ant infestation is the presence of workers inside a building or home. Even though you might see the ants, it does not necessarily mean that a carpenter ant colony has established its nest within your home. Carpenter ants forage for food within great distances of their nests. Just seeing a couple of ants in the kitchen probably means you just need to clean your kitchen.
When a carpenter ant infestation is severe, piles of wood shavings can usually be found beneath wooden items. It is also likely that you’ll see workers and/or swarmers emerging from small openings on the surface of wood
Carpenter ants burrow into wood to create their nests, and an infestation can also be detected by faint rustling noises inside woodwork or walls. Furthermore, when large winged ants emerge from ceilings, walls and other hidden crevices, an infestation is almost certain.
How do I get rid of carpenter ants?
To control an infestation properly and reduce the chances that the colony can return, the number one thing you should do is contact a pest control professional.
To control a carpenter ant infestation, it is necessary to first find the nest. Once identified, it can be removed. In addition, all moisture conditions that the ants found must be corrected.
If treated early, serious structural damage to houses and buildings can be avoided. However, these ants could damage structures immensely if they continue undiscovered for an extended period.
DIY tips to prevent carpenter ant infestation:
- Seal cracks in the foundation with caulk.
- Store firewood away from the home and trim back bushes and trees from the edge of the house.
- Fix water leaks and adjust the grading around your house so there is no standing water.
- Use airtight containers to store food in the pantry.
- Install proper screening in windows and door sweeps on entry doors.
Ants are active year-round, that means you need protection year-round. Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) covers ants, spiders, roaches, wasps, fleas, centipedes, crickets, mice, rats, and much more.
Once we solved any issues on the inside of your home, we will focus our efforts on the outside to keep your home pest free. Exterior services will occur once every three months, and will include a foundation treatment, removal of wasp nests and spider webs using a telescopic tool that reaches up to 30 feet, a perimeter band around the home. And crack and crevice service. However, if the bugs don’t listen, we will come back and take care of it at no additional charge to you.