The month of June ushers in images of elated children running towards summer vacation with memories of homework and tests all but faded, sun-soaked days comprised of trips to the local swim club or neighbor’s pool, skipping stones across lakes, camping trips and family cookouts which can finally be enjoyed, with regularity, on outdoor decks. Family and friends may not be the only ones enjoying those outdoor celebrations.
National Carpenter Ant Awareness Week is approaching faster than ten thousand carpenter ants can tunnel through a dead tree: June 17-June 24. The summertime is synonymous for frenzied insect activity and carpenter ants are not ones to miss that party.
Carpenter ants, often mistaken for termites, do not eat wood. They simply tunnel through it in order to build their nests. They got their name due to their proclivity for excavating wooden structures leaving, in their wake, very smooth tunnels that ultimately weaken foundations of buildings, homes and outdoor decks.
‘How To Spot Carpenter Ants’
Carpenter ants are generally black or dark colored or sometimes red ranging in size from a quarter to three quarters of an inch- large in size for ants. But they are not easily spotted as they’re nocturnal, foraging for food at night. It is wise to keep a spotless and dry kitchen as carpenter ants will be drawn there in numbers.
These nocturnal foragers will feed on anything that we would enjoy, preferring sugary spills and morsels of lost meals that found their way to the countertops and floors. They can sometimes be heard as they can make low volume sounds like crunching or rustling of paper in ceiling voids and wall areas. Sawdust piles from their excavations is another telltale sign of their presence.
‘Where To Find Carpenter Ants’
Carpenter ants are found throughout the country, particularly in the northern parts of the United States. They prefer wet or previously damaged wood by moisture. But will also tunnel through undamaged and dry wood. Once inside the home, they are typically found in worn or rotted door frames and windows, in basements near anything wet or moist, near sinks as well as bathtubs, under rooftops and in crawlspaces.
A mature carpenter ant colony can pose quite the conundrum as they can contain more than 10,000 workers coming from multiple nests inside as well as outside the home. Mature nests usually have a series of satellite nests which often are comprised of thousands of worker ants. Nests are stealthily hidden, usually in hard-to-reach places wherever wood can be found. Destroying carpenter ants nests is paramount in eliminating infestation. A pest control expert at Ehrlich can help locate, eliminate and prevent the ants from ruining the summer to the tune of thousands of dollars.
‘Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips’
- clean up liquid spills and food immediately.
- replace any decayed wood as carpenter ants will build their nests there.
- eliminate all moisture problems in and around the home as they prefer moist areas.
- store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the home and 5 inches off of the ground.
- tightly seal and cover food containers.
- seal cracks and crevices in the home with silicone caulk.
- trim back over-reaching branches from the house as the ants can use the branches as a bridge to the kingdom.
- for expert advice, call Ehrlich: 888-976-4649.
For more prevention tips, please visit the Ehrlich carpenter ants page.
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