Seems like there is an obvious answer to this question; carpenter ants each wood! In fact, they don’t each wood at all. The name ‘carpenter’ is used to describe a builder of things. The unfortunate outcome of this story is that in order to build they must first tear down.
Carpenter ants don’t get their building materials from Home Depot. Instead, they use your home, and the materials that you used to build it, as their own personal hardware store. Carpenter ants chew through wood in order to make tunnels, or galleries, in which to raise their young. In other words, they are building a nest in your home to raise a family.
While carpenter ants do not consume or digest wood, they do seek food, moisture, and shelter in order to make a suitable place to live. Your home may inadvertently provide the very resources that attract carpenter ants in the first place. It is a good idea to know the food ants crave and the ideal conditions that lure them to your property, and we have the answers if you’ll just read on.
So what do they eat?
Carpenter ants crave protein above all else. They get most of their protein from living and dead insects, but they’ll gladly consume the food scraps and crumbs found in your kitchen, under the stove, beneath the dishwasher, and in the pantry.
In addition to protein, carpenter ants are attracted to sugars such as honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids. Other sugar sources include:
- Granulated sugar
What attracts carpenter ants to my home?
Like most living creatures, ants need food and favorable living conditions to survive. In the case of the carpenter ant, they require three things: moisture, food, and shelter.
Moisture – Carpenter ants favor moist, damp areas. The moisture often makes things easier to chew through. Leaks that go unattended will lead to a softening or rotting of the wood and materials around the leak. They also seek areas where condensation collects such as doorways, windows, bathrooms, kitchens, drains, pipes, roof vents and laundry areas.
Food – Carpenter ants love protein and sugar. They are also extremely attracted to honeydew, which is a sweet liquid produced by aphids. Carpenter ants forage for food at night and look for anything sticky, sweet or meaty.
Shelter – Carpenter ants will take up residence in wood and leaf piles, dead tree stumps, rotting fence posts … just about any place they can find rotting wood and debris.
Carpenter Ant prevention
To prevent carpenter ant problems indoors, consider addressing the following concerns:
- Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks and other moisture problems which will attract carpenter ants.
- Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
- Replace/remove moisture-damaged wood … Remove tree and shrub stumps and roots.
- Remove rotten wood or lumber that is stored in a garage or near the house.
- Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible.
- Clip back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house.
What do I do if I have carpenter ants?
In most cases, you should contact a pest management professional to treat carpenter ants. At Sigma Pest Control, our licensed Pest Management Professionals are experienced in inspecting properties, locating nests, baiting techniques and proper/safe pesticide application.
The best way to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood and eliminate moisture problems, if they exist. This is not a job for ant traps and baits. Carpenter Ant infestation can become a huge problem real fast, and do-it-yourself remediation isn’t going to the do the job. You need a professional.
The last word ...
Now that you know what carpenter ants do eat, you can focus on what to do if you are seeing these insects near your home. Even though they don’t eat wood, carpenter ants can still cause a lot of damage.
Remember, ants are active year-round, that means you need protection year-round. Sigma Pest Control staff are trained to help manage ants and similar pests. Keeping ants out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. That’s why we recommend Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) as the best solution for ant prevention and infestation.
Once we’ve addressed the ant issues inside your home, we’ll 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.
Call Sigma Pest Control at 540-947-4462 today and we’ll make sure your carpenter ant problems aren’t a problem anymore.